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How long would the BG saga take in PnP 2E?

StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
I have been playing PnP AD&D for several weeks now and things are so slow. I have estimated that to play through the BG saga with a party of six in PnP, six hour sessions once a week, would take a lifetime. Just getting to the FFI would take forever. How long do you think it would take?



  • StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
    edited August 2015
    Leveling is also very slow in PnP. I swear all my XP has come from quests. I wish there was a way to speed things up.

    On our last session, we picked up where we left off the week before, and on our way to do this quest we come upon a camp of scorpionmen. They have captives. We kill the scorprions and release the captives which takes about an hour. Once we release the captives we have to do an introduction (because one of the captives was a new PC who joined). On our way to complete the quest we stumble on a cave. Then it gets interesting. We end up getting separated in the cave and the DM has to give notes to each of us. This took freaking forever.

    By the time we escape the cave it turns out one of our guys got knocked unconscious and was a no show, and I'm the Cleric and everyone else was pretty much wiped so I had to go back in and get him (and almost got killed in the process - I swear our DM has no freaking mercy). Long story short we get back to town the session was over!!! Six freaking hours - are you kidding me?

    There has to be a better way of playing true D&D than this.

  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,591
    Agreed, playing BG as a PNP game would take a lifetime - in my experience it would mostly be because everything the party does is decided by committee (which in RL guarantees disaster). As far as pacing is concerned, in PnP the DM is basically God and if he/she is experienced they will manage levelling up etc. to keep the game flowing regardless of what the rule book says.

  • iKrivetkoiKrivetko Member Posts: 934
    At least you won't be spending eons rolling stats.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,611
    Computer gaming spoiled me for tabletop playing.

    When I was in high school in 1981-1983, and personal computing was in its infancy (most people didn't have a personal computer and didn't see any use for one), I thought D&D tabletop gaming was the coolest thing ever invented, and I continued to think so through college, until I stopped playing in 1990ish when I started working full time.

    Fast forward to 1997-2000, and all of a sudden there was Might and Magic 6-8 and Baldur's Gate 1 and 2. I could have the same cool experience of playing D&D, all by myself, and the play moved along so much faster and more easily.

    I tried to get back into tabletop playing with a group of my peers (middle-aged men) a couple of years ago, and I quit after three four-hour sessions - three *long*, *boring* four-hour sessions where basically nothing happened except a bunch of guys were sitting around a table and ignoring their spouses. (The GM had two small kids that kept tugging at his sleeves and getting sent away from the table.)

    In the game, it took those 12 hours of play time to figure out how to cross a river, roleplay several "messing around" type of comedy role-play exchanges, find a house, talk to the owner, and then find a secret door leading downstairs. That's it. Three evenings, twelve hours total of my time, and not one combat.

    I thought, "Yeah, I'll just stick to computer games." I do remember our combat-heavy sessions in high school, though, and I know I wouldn't want to go back to that. Combat resolution was very slow. "Roll for initiative "Player a has a goblin on him, player b has two goblins, etc."
    "Player a roll to hit. Missed or did x damage. Player b roll to hit. Player c. Player d's spell goes off. Player e roll to hit."
    "Goblin x rolls to hit. Missed or did x damage."
    On and on, very, very slow process, and heaven forbid if anybody wanted to try a special action like grappling, throwing an object, or to cast a new spell the DM didn't know.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    No doubt the PNP experience is very different. I still tend to think of it as "real" gaming, but the computer is clearly better at the technical aspects of the game. While I think the PNP game is better for social reasons, and the pure unpredictability of it.
    But managing such a game is challenging. I guess I'm pretty focused about it; but then I also insist on no kids during the game session, and that definitely complicates scheduling and who's available. Bottom line is, we just don't game very often anymore!
    And the computer is vastly better for when you just have half an hour in the afternoon and what to get just a little something done. You can't do that with the gaming group!

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    I dunno, when it comes to PNP gaming I enjoy the social experience and not having to look at a screen. I've only played PNP probably 12-15 times total in my entire life (though I amateur-DMed 3 of them!) so maybe I haven't experienced the inevitable burnout that occurs with any hobby, but I feel like computer games, while certainly more convenient, are also more limited. Rather than having infinite solutions to problems, in the computer you have like 6 maximum, and most result in combat.

    I personally find combat less interesting in PNP, and enjoy the roleplaying aspect more. When I played we kind of avoided the "party random encounter vs 6 gibberlings" and made combat a rarer (and more dangerous) occurrence. We gained experience by session and accomplishing goals, rather than vanquishing foes. I guess that takes away the tediousness of combat. In the computer, however, random encounters can be fun and combat is usually the highlight.

    Basically the computer is better for convenience, but I find PNP to be more enjoyable and wish I had more opportunities where I am to actually play. My friends aren't really the type to play D&D, and it probably wouldn't be the same with strangers.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    I mostly agree, although I do enjoy PNP combat quite a lot. But there's definitely fewer "random" encounters. To the point, I don't really even call them random anymore, I typically plan out a couple of minor skirmishes that are random only in terms of if and when I use them. One of the things I really enjoy with PNP is how often those minor encounters end up being resolved peacefully, or turn into a major blow out brawl I wasn't expecting.
    With a CRPG, once you've played the game once you're unlikely to get any major surprises. But in a PNP game it feels more like anything can happen.

  • PibaroPibaro Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 2,989
    It won't take forever. In a dozen session (probably long before than that) it will be over... The party will be dead for sure.

  • StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
    edited August 2015
    Baldur's Gate is great but nothing compares to true D&D. Baldur's Gate is all about the rule system and character development (at least after you've already experienced the story). If that's what you like out of D&D then by all means, BG is for you.

    I am still fairly new to PnP D&D but I can tell you already that rules and character building are mostly secondary. D&D is all about the interaction. Just knowing that anything can happen. When you play D&D on the computer you exist in a very limited world. You exist within the confines of a pre-developed world. When you play true D&D there are no confines. It's truly open ended, as you feed off each other's imagination. And in my mind's eye I can see it all play out.

    I guess I am lucky that my first experience is with a DM who really knows what he's doing and with players who have done it before, but it's truly incredible.

    Yes, I wish it would go faster. Yes, I was complaining about it up top. But in terms of potential, PnP offers things computer D&D can't even dream of offering, even if it does take way too long to obtain them.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    @stormvessel I wouldn't sell short character development in PNP though! You want to contribute and help your party as best you can (or be self serving if evil...). And I would say most characters adventuring for a living know their lives hang on being as good at what they do as possible.
    So things like choosing proficiemcies and spells, and how you use them, is still hugely important. It's just that the more open nature of PNP can lead to more odd or unexpected choices.
    With the computer those choices are more cut and dried, more purely mathematical. PNP is more likely to reward creativity and purely social decisions.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    I just got back from Gen CON, where a LOT of players were playing marathon campaigns. I think that even in that environment (6-8 hour sessions once a day for four days), you would still barely get out of Nashkal mines. To take things all the way through TOB for a normal gaming group would probably take YEARS at minimum, and that is assuming that the group continued to play the same campaign and didn't get bored of it (not that it is boring, but slogging through any story for THAT long would be taxing on the most patient players).

    If you want a bench mark, take ToEE as an example. That encompasses something like 4 modules? Give each module 4-5 gaming sessions at minimum and you are talking 20-30 weeks of game play. That's brutal (though it was fun when we did it in my old group back in the day). And ToEE is no where near as robust as BG Saga in it's entirety.

    Yeah, it would be a LONG haul.

  • StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
    edited August 2015
    When I DM (AD&D 2E) I am going to change a few things in the hope that things will be smoother and as a result, more fun. One thing I will definitely change is HP. Level 1 HP will always equal constitution, and after that HP will be determined as follows.

    Barbarian = 1d10+2
    Fighter = 1d8+2
    Cleric = 1d6+2
    Thief = 1d4+2
    Mage =1d2+2

    Con bonuses applied afterward of course.

    Another thing I will change is XP. Players will all get the full XP amount for every mob. If the mob wasn't killed, they get half. No more killing blow only XP or XP divided by party.

    Another thing I will change is the tedious stuff. One level of encumbrance only. Water and food weighs nothing. Spells and abilities after every 8 hour rest (as opposed to once every 24 hours). More HP regained after resting and double the amount if a Cleric is in the party. Etc. Etc.

    There are literally several things that can be changed to make things go smoother and faster. And the more experience I get playing the game, the more ideas I have for when I eventually become a DM.

    I think I am going to be a good DM. I will make little handouts to pass out before each session showing the map and important things of note. I will create a party journal and pass out journals to each member. D&D has the potential to be so fun. And you will get out of it what you put into it.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    One thing that would help, I bet a PnP game would probably stick a lot closer to the main quest line. There would still be some stomping around in the woods, but I bet the players would be less interested in the industrial exploration (particularly in BG1) of it all and more interested in getting to 'The Gate' and confronting the baddie. Just my opinion.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    Every DM makes tweaks of that sort. And it's a very good idea to hand those changes out to your players. I have three printed copies of my own Players Handbook always available at the game table.
    Don't be shy about modifying things as you go too, just always communicate what you're doing (players do hate surprises! At least the ones paying attention, every group seem to have a few who are just there for the company).

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    I recently "started" a tabletop group with some of my friends. We've only met once for 3 hours so we'll see if I cane keep the momentum going. A bunch of people are out of town before school starts. (Ugh. I need to start the grapes of wrath.)
    Some are somewhat familiar with dnd, but none have seriously played tabletop before, and two are serious gamers so they pick up quick, the rest, at the risk of being politically incorrect, are girls. As the only one familiar with the rules I am the de facto DM, and no one has any official books. New ones are expensive, and honestly, I have some serious issues with some particulars of the system. So taking
    atcDave said:

    Every DM makes tweaks of that sort.

    To the next level, I wrote my own edition.
    I present you: D&D, Meagloth Edition!


    Anyway, on topic, I'm gonna try and move quick, and favor roleplay and imagination over dice. I know most of you won't click that link, and no one will read the whole thing, so as a synopsis:
    I added 2 stats, comeliness and athletics, and changed modifiers and what they modify.
    I changed armor, adding Damage resistance.
    I changed inventory management to match real people. I think encumbrance tops out around 150, and i also have a volume system.
    Classes start with different HP rolls, and classes gain 1d2 HP/lvl, or 1d3, in the case of fighter types. However, I added a lot more AC/DR bonuses. This way hits don't happen very often, but when they do they're very serious. I felt this is more realistic.
    The setting is essentially Europe. I drew a map, but I might just use a 1500 map of Europe. i always thought it was a bit silly how nations in games are obvious mirrors of real life cultures, but they change thy name and pretend they're not. Besides, everyone already knows the ins and out of these cultural relationships, and it makes the languages seem less fake. I'm not Tolkien, I can't make up my own language in a month.(Kooky root words have always bothered me. One of the reasons I like Tolkien so much.)
    Heres an example character sheet:


    ok. now that thats sorted, ill try and be relaxed. There a lot of rules that probably don't need to be. like, if Mage 1 casts sleep and it gets everyone, Fighter can slit all their thoughts. No need to roll for damage. I'll also try and talk through combat in a storytelling way, rather than hit or miss. example:
    DM: the goblin charges and jumps for your head, sword raised high
    Fighter: i parry at my head and jump out of they way
    DM: right. the goblin lands and-
    Fighter: I lung at him while he's landing
    DM: ok. he's moving so he can't block. roll at +5 THAC0.
    DM: ok, roll for damage
    DM: alright he's incapacitated and will bleed out in one round. His Brother sees this and jumps out of the bushes at the mage

    I feel like that will be more fun, quick, and more realistic than just rolling it out. I'm big on realism, if you hadn't noticed yet.

    I also want to try and avoid combat. I was reading a PDF of the 5e monster manual and that thing is absurd. they have every monster under the sun and his sister. Why are there so many of these things? why do i need to kill it? why are they all inherently evil? how did roads get built?
    the world crawling in monsters just doesn't make any sense. Im gonna tone down the Uber-fantasy. Its just a little over the top for me. I'll try and make most of the combat have a good reason, and a realistic feel. I want the characters wondering if they made the right choice afterwards, rather than "oh, its just a goblin. I can kill it for the XP"

  • StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
    It's no secret that girls are sometimes lousy gamers. Not offensive. Of course it WOULD be offensive is to say the problem is inherent in the gender. It's not a gender thing - the issue is that not enough girls play. Plain and simple. So a smaller sample size will correlate to fewer good girl gamers. It's like Russia and chess. Russians are not better chess players, it's just that everyone and their mother plays, providing a much larger sample size from which to draw the top players.

    Anyway, back to the topic. I read your post and checked out your link, but I'm afraid I can barely read your handwriting!

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    @meagloth I've had some really good experiences with players who weren't really interested in the mechanics. They are often the more creative types (like my wife, who is indeed a girl!) who really enjoy role playing. I often help such types with the more technical aspects of their character; after all, I figure the character probably knows plenty about their professional details, even if the player doesn't.
    Such players will often do a lot to bring your setting to life. I've had one friend play Paladins who has no particular interest in combat, but loves the idea of standing for the right thing. My wife plays a fighter/thief who prides herself in being the party's scout and excels at getting the Intel in every situation. This can really make things FUN! They are engaged, even when they aren't into the details.
    And you know there's always a few players figuring all the numbers and the stats. I let those guys take some of the work load. Have them help the other players. It makes your life easier AND it helps keep them happy.

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806

    Anyway, back to the topic. I read your post and checked out your link, but I'm afraid I can barely read your handwriting!

    Yes. It's pretty bad. Luckily it's not the most important thing here, most of what you need to know on the character sheet is typed. It's also kinda blurry in the JPG. If you really want to know that backstory it's
    "Matilda, who insists on being called Tilla, was born to a wealthy common family in England, and moved to Venice when she was 10 for reasons her parents never explained to her. There she was trained in music and dance, as well as many languages. Her mischievous attitude thought her a few other skills, and growing up with 5 brothers she insisted on being trained in combat. Despite this, she always hated her home, saying her father was a neglectful businessman and her mother was an overbearing wench. Apparently, when her parents tried to Mary her off to a local noble, it was the last straw. She snuck off onto the first ship she saw in port that night, which took her to munchen. Though she seems to be handling herself pretty well few a recent runaway lass..."

  • SquireSquire Member Posts: 512
    edited August 2015
    I think somebody did this a while back, actually.

    eta: sorry, I can't find it right now...but I remember there being a huge thread on the subject. I might have a proper look later but I don't have time right now.

  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 2,068
    We all know how tabletop BG would go. One session. TPK on Tarnesh.

  • iKrivetkoiKrivetko Member Posts: 934
    Batman 1d8 Crush/Pierce - - 3.5 2 3 Crit on 19&20

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    iKrivetko said:


    Batman 1d8 Crush/Pierce - - 3.5 2 3 Crit on 19&20
    It's for monks only. Instead of having their fist damage level up, I gave them a special set of "fist" proficencies. I though it was simpler than having a bunch of special stuff to keep track of for monks. Anyone can take the hand to hand styles, but only monks can use batman.
    I had a little fun with some names. You notice the proficencies now go proficient->specialized->mastered->grand mastered-> super amazeballs awesome.

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    Squire said:

    I think somebody did this a while back, actually.

    eta: sorry, I can't find it right now...but I remember there being a huge thread on the subject. I might have a proper look later but I don't have time right now.

    That's not impossible. If you do find it I'd like to see it.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    The group I played with WAY back before they invented the wheel, was actually run by a girl. The school club that she ran was made up of her and two of her (female) friends and three other guys at the time that I joined. So girls can definitely play.

  • StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
    edited August 2015
    They can play - I just wish MORE would play. Several years ago my live in girlfriend at the time would spend her entire paycheck on games for us, and then she would sit back and do crossword puzzles while I played. She was very sweet and generous but just not a gamer.

    Back to the topic.

    I just finished the Black Pits with a badass sorcerer and am wanting to start BG2 with him. But I don't feel right about it unless I play through the first game (and also for the Tomes which I don't need cause I'm a sorc - OCD). So I am blazing through the game with the canon party.

    I have noticed it's actually not that long of a game if you stick to the main quest and go from point A to point B (of course even that would take forever in PnP). I just have a habit of uncovering the entire map on every map, talking to everyone, pickpoketing, stealing, selling and stealing, etc. And then once I hit level 5 I do the tower.

    This time I am just blazing through. I will only deviate for the Tomes, and the Tome of constitution is really the only one out of the way unless you count the tower. I do the tower usually anyway but that damn constitution tome is so far out of the way it's annoying.

    In any case, I estimate I will be through with the game in 12 hours of gameplay. If anyone has any tips on how to get through faster, I am all ears. I prefer sticking with BG2 now and only ever play the first one for trilogy runs. Again, OCD. Any tips on how to get through it faster would be welcome. I thought about EE keeper and boots of speed for everyone. I also thought about putting the FPS to 200 or something insane along those lines. I just want to take my sorc to BG2 and can't wait, dammit!

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    @Stormvessel - You may not be getting introduced to the right sort of people. I just got back from Gen Con in Indianapolis. And while the m/f ratio was not 50/50, it was above 60/40. And most of the women there were just as much gamers as the men were. I remember going to Gen CON WAY back when it was in Milwaukee and much smaller than it is today. Even back then there was still a significant female presence.

    But agreed, I would love to see more women play games like these. I wish it were more socially acceptable (for both genders for that matter) than it is. Although I had a blast (and now intend to go every year that I can), it was pretty clear that the locals looked at us like a bunch of, well... Geeks. Which was fine. I was in my element and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    As far as speeding through the game, do some research on speed runs. I want to say that the record is under an hour, but I am not sure how much of the actual game you get to see on the way.

  • moody_magemoody_mage Member Posts: 2,054
    edited August 2015
    I'm going to run a session in September for the first time in many years. The ruleset is going to be a blend of third Edition (BAB, AB, Stats, AC, Armour, Saves) and AD&D (everything else).

    Basically I've replaced all the crap I don't like in AD&D (bye bye exceptional strength and THAC0) with the much smoother and logical systems of Third Edition. I would like to scrap NWPs too in favour of skill points but that'll be for another time maybe.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    Just a word of caution, mixing and matching between 2e and 3e can cause some problems unless done properly. The 3e classes (and some of the stats and skills) are designed around the ever increasing STATS of that system in ways that could actually cause problems if you tried to apply them to 2e. So long as you do ALL of the STAT stuff and the THAC0 etc... you should be OK, but just keep an eye out.

    As a side note, there is a mod out there somewhere that purports to convert BG2 to 3e. It did HORRIBLE things (in my personal and subjective view) to the game and made it nigh unplayable. I like both versions (I like 2e better, but still like both), but the mish-mash of the two did NOT sit well with me. And that mod really highlighted some of the dangers. You should check it out if you have the stomach for it. I uninstalled the mod after about 2 hours of play because I hated it (subjective) that much.

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