(I wasn't sure if to put this thread here or to Role Playing - I mean, even if it's not a thread to roleplay in, it's still ultimately
this sort of a thing. I ended up placing it in here in the end: if a mod disagrees with me, feel free to toss it where it belongs.)
Xan, you're not really helping.
"Well, I suppose I could help you by suggesting something better, but who are we kidding? This whole endeavor is dead, and what you are doing now will not change it."
I don't know. Maybe? Probably? Still worth a try, it's like fifteen minutes off my time. We'll bury the thing if this doesn't work.
Yeah, we have Xan here. Really. It's... kind of a long, stupid story, I can give you the details about that later.
Anyway, the sales pitch. I mean, if someone is actually still here and didn't leave in disgust and/or depression... okay, I'll try to give it to you as short as I can, the general idea and stuff. So blimey, how about some AD&D 2nd edition? It's set in Forgotten Realms (mostly), we play through IRC, and use actual rules instead of freeform - which means you'll probably have subpar stats and end up dying ignobly. We have dice and everything.
That's the short version. Now here's the long one, for if you have any questions: just click the spoiler tags, try to see if I managed to answer anything you had in mind already, then if not, ask away.
Q: I read the unhappiness thread! Is this the game you brought up in there once?
A: Indeed it is. As you can see, I've finally decided to ask if any of you were up for it. Since, you know, I've tried mostly everything else at this point, and I really do like this game, what we've done so far, and our plans for the future.Q: You're not very good at this selling-it-to-people thing, are you?
A: No, I'm not... I'm far too self-conscious and critical to do anything like that, not to mention sad and desperate. So I just end up being honest and telling it to you bluntly and as it is, warts and all. At least it means you'll know what you're in for, and the people that do still want in (if any) are not as likely to be sorely disappointed.
This attitude will continue with the rest of the Q/A. Be prepared.
The general stuff and how this works:
Q: AD&D 2nd edition? What's that?
A: It's a short of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which is a roleplaying system with a long and complicated history. It's the stuff Baldur's Gate uses as its heart, albeit rather simplified: having played that game will give you a decent bouncing board for the full version.
Q: Wait, there are rules for this thing? Can't we just hang around and roleplay?
A: Well, it is a roleplaying game, and all games need to have rules. They dictate whether we can actually find that trap or stab that dragon, what exactly our characters are capable of, and that sort of things. It's like playing Baldur's Gate again, except with worse characters and you can't quickload if you die.
Q: Okay, what about that IRC stuff you mentioned?
A: That means Internet Relay Chat, which is this nice tool that allows a bunch of people from all over the world to talk in real-time. It even lets us bring in the dice! There are several free clients you can use to join up: Chatzilla seems popular, for instance.
Q: What's this game all about in a bit more detail?
A: In theory, it's supposed to be this fun adventure all across Faerun (and beyond), seeing sights and having adventures and helping people. In practice, it's full of broken promises and misery, especially now that our primary DM disappeared without a word, leaving us stranded. There's just three of us: two are stuck in Waterdeep with no one to run them adventures for, and the third is going on a different adventure that I've been wanted to do for a long time, that was supposed to have four players but he's all alone instead. It's been incredibly depressing even before Xan came along.
Q: So this whole thing is all about sadness and depression? And I have to play a guy with really low ability scores (like less than 15 in everything!), can fail at things I do, and will probably die unceremoniously? Why would anyone want to do this?
A: Well, we wouldn't like it to be sad. As for the other part... well, it's kind of exciting? You're just a normal guy instead of a superhero, or at least initially started up as one, and can actually end up biting it? I mean, where's the challenge if you automatically succeed in everything? It can be fun for some people: not everyone's bag of thing.
In all fairness, there's actually not that much death around, although we do sometimes come close.
Concerning what we'd want of you, and stuff of time and region:
Q: Okay, I'm still here... though I might not know why anymore. What exactly are you looking from me?
A: What I'm looking for is people that have played AD&D before or are curious to do so, willing to learn the rules, with a good attitude and some patience, dedication, and time. It helps if you're European, b-...
Q: That's racist!
A: What? No... no! I didn't.... I didn't mean it that way! Did it come up that way? Sorry.
Uh, what I meant is, that Europeans are preferred because we're all from Europe, and we typically play at the sort of times when those from elsewhere around the world are either working or sleeping, which means odds are great you probably won't have the time to hang out with us.
Q: What if I'm from Africa?
A: Sure, that's cool.
Q: So what you need is time... how much of it, exactly?
A: The more the better! I'd really like it if you could at least hang out with us every day, or nearly so, and could get some gaming done at least a couple times a week. The less time you have, the harder it is to schedule things or just have some spontaneous, on-the-spot gaming going - all the more so if there are many people like that, and it ends up in this kind of weird juggling around where we're struggling to find a moment that's good for everybody. In the end, it typically ends up not working.
Q: When exactly are you active?
A: We can end up doing things at any time between noon and midnight, our time - that's about 5am to 5pm for you Americans, and I don't even know what for those from Asia, Japan, Australia, or elsewhere. In theory it leaves a lot of time for gaming or hanging out: the more you can be around at that time, the better.
Q: That's like twelve hours, every day of the week! You don't actually -play- that much, do you?
A: Not really. Compared to how much we're around, the amount we can actually play is significantly less, sometimes depressingly so. At the moment it's because, as was stated above, we're kind of stuck. Right now, the time we play would seem to have been set on 4pm EST fridays: hopefully it sticks.
If you were still around on other times, we might get little one-shots or other random stuff going.
Q: You're not actually expecting to find someone with that much time in their hands, do you?
A: Well, now that we've an actual gaming time, it seems a little more likely to me, now does it not?
Q: It turns out I have something important to do during the scheduled time of the game! Or maybe I just decided this whole thing just isn't for me after all and I want out. What should I do?
A: Just let us know about it, preferably beforehand. Pop up on IRC or toss me a PM through the forum, explain how things are, and odds are we'll understand just fine and - if it's the latter case - sorry it didn't work out for you.
Please don't just leave without a word. It has happened to us a lot, and it is a very rude thing to do.
Some more about the ruleset and AD&D, contains a helpful link:
Q: Right! So you mentioned something about rules... I don't have those books with me and you can't possibly ask me to spend money on this thing, can you? And wouldn't just downloading them illegally be, well, illegal?
A: It certainly would, and we can't ask you to do that. I mean, I have legitimate physical copies of much of the 1st and 2nd edition rules, and if you want to buy some for yourself then that's great, but for the rest of you there's quite a free and legitimate way to learn all the ropes! Just pop in here:http://purpleworm.org/rules/
This site contains everything you need to start playing with us, in an easy-to-use (if rather pictureless and boring) format. And if you still have any questions regarding rules, we're available!Q: Wow, that's... a whole lot of rules. I didn't think there would be so many huge books about these things! Baldur's Gate was so much easier to learn and play.
A: That's not really a question. But, well, yeah... Baldur's Gate really is putting it all in a very simplified manner, and even the stuff it does use is mostly under the hood, invisible for a casual player. It cut off entirely almost everything not to do with combat, leaving behind only the very barest skeleton of the actual game rules.
It's easier to learn than you'd think, though, once you get to the mindset.Q: I have some experience with roleplaying, and have books not under the Purpleworm link. Can I use those?
A: These are decided in a case-by-case basis, typically considering whether it'll break the game, and whether some other book already brought up the same thing in a better way. Usually odds are fairly high that you're allowed to bring it in.Q: I've got something I'd like to bring up from one of the AD&D 1st edition books! Can I do that? I mean, those are pretty close to 2nd edition and everything...
By all means! Anyone with knowledge of 1st edition and willing to bring up stuff out of it is more than welcome with us. Again, if some 2nd edition book brings up the stuff in a better way than the one you're bringing up, then we might end up using that instead... but if you want to roll up a genuine classic monk, something I don't think 2nd edition handled well at all, then go right ahead.
Some more advanced mechanics, what the party needs, a note or two for prospective DMs:
Q: Okay so, I've either familiarized myself with the basics, or am a veteran and knew them already. What do I start the game with?
A: Well, seeing how we've been around a bit and gotten some adventures done, you would begin with around 50,000 experience points - that'll put you around halfway through 5th level if you're a fighter - with perhaps a magical item or two. It's enough to pick you up the speed and allow you to hold your own among us: the way adventures and experience work in AD&D, you'll catch up properly real soon.
Q: Mechanically, what does the party contain? What should I think about adding in?
A: We have a fighter, a fighter/mage, and a mage. If you wish to avoid redundancy, then a cleric, a thief, a ranged warrior (just watch out about firing into melee!), bard, that sort of things, they're all good.
Q: Damn, I really was looking to play a mage! I love those arcane casters... anything I could do?
A: The mages we have right now cast mostly alteration/evocation, and enchantment. If you're looking to bring in conjuration, divination, or any other school not already mentioned, you can go ahead and find a place in the group.
You might still try to multiclass into a thief or cleric or something, though, to be even more useful.
Q: You said something about needing a DM? I've run some games back in the day... what if I wanted to take over the game?
A: Then you're just the kind of a person we're looking for! A game can't go anywhere without a DM, after all, and though the rest of us can do a little something, we're kind of in the sort of a locked position where we can't do anything and could appreciate someone to shake us off, as was mentioned. Besides, I'm sure you're better than the rest of us combined.
Q: What if I was a little reluctant to do so? What sort of things could a DM get out of this game that a player doesn't? It's really hard work running games, after all.
A: The lot of the Dungeon Master is not an easy one, and they have many considerations to think of that the players don't need to much care about. But there are two things we can offer to anyone who's up for taking over the job:
Firstly, you get to be pretty much in charge. The rest of us can run just a single character, but you are in control over the world around us and what happens in the game itself! You will decide what challenges we face, what monsters we fight, what intrigue we must contend with, and basically become the one above gods themselves.
Secondly, DMs are entitled to more experience than the players, and receive an extra 50% on top of whatever you give to us! So if you give us, say, 1000 points each after a successful quest, then your own character gets to have 1500. This doesn't include individual bonuses you give to just one of us, though, but it does include experience for combat and basically everything else given for everybody. If you run games a lot, your character soon ends up pretty strong!
Q: So does this thing have multiple DMs, then? How does that work?
A: It's pretty simple. Anyone that has an idea for an adventure that would take place somewhere nearby to where we're right now, is free to run it. Their character goes on a break (we typically make them "disappear" somewhere briefly, to avoid them hogging the spotlight), and they temporarily ascend to godhood, run their adventure to the others, and return. If someone else feels like it, they could run this little thing that explains what the temporary DM's character was up to in the meantime.
A bit more about the party, roleplaying fluff, and flavor and tone:
Q: You said you have a fighter, a mage, and a multiclass of both. Can I hear a bit more about what sort of characters those are?Q: Wow, that was a lot to go through, and I'm still not entirely convinced... why should I go along with this?
A: Sure. We have a gentleman minotaur tourist, a chivalrous kobold chef , and frustrated tiefling with an itch she cannot scratch: the fighter/mage, fighter, and mage, respectively.
Q: Woah, wait, what? That's a little atypical... I was expecting something more standard, like a dwarven fighter and this elderly human mage, and the multiclass being a cute elven girl... you know. Wouldn't people give you some odd looks? Try to throw you out of towns?
A: It's certainly a possibility, although I guess it could depend on the DM as well. We typically tend to not give them much heed and just adventure, so the most people give are some glances and an occasional racist comment. In-character, we figure that maybe Drizzt has made people a little more tolerant in general or something: I mean, if a drow can be all right, then why not a kobold or a minotaur?
Or maybe they're just too confused by the minotaur having a tux and a monocle that they forget all about their torches and pitchforks. I dunno.
Q: So I guess this isn't one of those really dark & edgy games? You know, all gritty and realistic and that sort of a thing...
A: Not really, no. We're just trying to have fun, instead of being all contemplative about all humans being monsters, the true line between good and evil, that there are no true heroes, or whatnot. I know those are all pretty hot subjects these days, and I guess I can see why, but we're into the more classic stuff: heroic fantasy, the eternal battle between light and darkness, and managing to actually help people and make their lives better. Plus with a bit more of racial equality thrown in I guess, with all goblins not being monsters and the like.
Q: Can I still roll a moody dwarven cleric?
A: Sure, go right ahead. To be honest, we could maybe use a bit more normal in our games.
Q: When does the game take place, in-universe? And where's the party right now?
A: The year is 1361, midsummer. That's about seven years before Baldur's Gate rolled in, or eighty-one years after Icewind Dale. Captain Cordell is on his way to find the land of Maztica, Liriel Baenre is going to run around having adventures, and CHARNAME is a little brat and not a hero yet.
As for the party, the kobold and the tiefling are in Waterdeep, looking for a friend of theirs (the character of one of the people we lost, who was last seen in the city and they don't know in-character that he's gone). The minotaur is about to be thrown into Krynn through a portal.
Q: Krynn? You mean, where Dragonlance takes place? Could I roll up a character from there?
A: Sure. Just be prepared to either only play him or her during this one adventure, or get thrown into another world and probably never see your home again.
Q: Can I be a kend-
A: No. At least not initially. Not until we trust you. Even then, we'd prefer something else.
Q: What about the strange distant lands, such as Kara-Tur, Zakhara, or even the outer planes? I mean, you have a tiefling with you, don't you?
A: Yes, we do, and indeed, the other two characters are from Kara-Tur themselves, so-
Q: But there are no kobolds or minotaurs in Kara-Tur!
A: The kobold was adopted. The minotaur's father was this traveler guy that ended up having an affair with a local woman.
Q: Oh. That's still a little weird.
A: It's a weird game.
Anyway, as I was saying, feel free to roll up a character from some faraway continent, or even from Sigil if you like. Just come up with a convincing background on how they ended up in Waterdeep, and we're all set.
Q: All right, let's back away a little bit... how is XAN with you?
A: It's actually a little embarrassing. I was running one of those little adventures, and ended up tossing him in at random, because I needed a depressed character for what I was doing. At the time I thought it'd be where he would end up after Baldur's Gate, but only after the session I remembered that this takes place before the games... so yeah. He still hangs out with the group, but I'm not sure for how long. Could fall down the stairs at any moment.
"Go ahead... it will be a fitting end for this meaningless existence."
Oh come on, it's not fun to threaten if you don't even care.
Q: Is it possible we'll meet other characters from Baldur's Gate?
A: Yes, but we're heading north, so it'll be less likely from here on.
Q: Can I play a Bhaalspawn?
A: Better not. I'm not even sure there are any rules for that.
Q: A potential DM here again. Do you have any ongoing plotlines or hooks or other sort of things I should be aware of?
A: There might be a few things. I'll brief you about them if you take the job. I don't think any of them are particularly restrictive, though: just these little things you could pretty much ignore entirely.
A: If you find no other reason, then maybe just to prove Xan wrong?Q: Okay, so what if I'm in? How do I find you?
A: Post your willingness to join in this thread, or PM me, and I'll send you another PM where I let you know how to get in touch. It's probably better than to post it here and have an influx of curious people and weirdos and trolls with no real intentions to actually play.Q: You made it sound like a secret club now. Do you have a secret handshake too?
A: We probably would if we could meet in the real world.Q: This didn't answer any questions at all!
A: I couldn't possibly catch them all, and I'm sorry. Feel free to ask your questions in the thread.
Welcome back! Are you here just because you scrolled past the tags without opening them to see if there's anything else, or did you actually read through that all? If the latter, then congratulations! You still interested in this? ...No?
Yeah, I'm not going to expect a massive flood of volunteers, but just one or two would be better than none. If you have any questions, chatter, criticism, or such, toss them to this thread. Let's talk. All right?
(Update: The playing time has currently been slotted pretty well to fridays, 4pm GMT.)