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Adam Minnie
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Adam Minnie

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Hello all! Just wanting to say hi and wow am I eager to have a chance to run/play this game. I'm considering running it for a MN Long Con in October, though I'd feel more comfortable running it before then to see how best to structure it in a long con format.
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Adam Minnie

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I'm running my first game of Torchbearer on Monday. I'm relatively new to Torchbearer, but very familiar with Mouse Guard.

Has anyone here used a collaborative approach to the GM preparation steps in "Prepare Thyself." Rather than creating the whole map myself, I'm interested in getting player input involved during our first session in a way similar to how players add places and rumors to the map in Beyond the Wall. Do you think this would or would not work well for TB and why? What information is really vital for the GM to keep secret?
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Thor Olavsrud's profile photoSean Winslow's profile photoJames Dudli's profile photo
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+Sean Winslow . Twists are an easy way to remedy Cartography being called the teleportation skill: a gust of wind blows your map into a crevasse, you hear a cacophonous rumbling and crashing behind you as the ceiling caves in, you see darting shadows from the corridor you entered by and goblins will certainly spring an ambush if you return. 
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Adam Minnie

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What makes a map compelling?

I'm just starting my first forays into digital cartography (mainly trying to make a meaningful and compelling map of an aerial archipelago of earth motes for an RPG in a shattered fantasy world; the variable elevations and semi-random drifting/distribution is very tricky to map out).

I've been thinking players need a few of the following to guide their decisions about where to go and why:
— Clearly different macro-regions with contrasting traits (climate, terrain, political, cultural, etc): "Let's head to northeast because it's warmer and less regulated."
— Hazards or things to avoid: "I guess we should head up to Floodford first, even though it's way out of the way, since we don't want to risk getting stalled going through the Badlands."
— Common routes: "If we follow the established trade road, we're more likely to find someone with an arcanotech bottle opener. Plus we'll make better time."
— Room for rumors and opportunities for excitement: "What's that icon there? Oh a ruin/dungeon/lair? Oh rumors say that's where Blackbeard's treasure galleon was lost, but now it's haunted by his embarrassed soul?"
— Possibly indicators of key supply/demand: "Hey look there, Treetop has huge supply of building materials and just over there it looks like Newtown has a huge demand or them. Let's take a little side trek for quick payoff."
— Possibly evocative names most of the above? "Yeah, why would we want to go to Sulpherfell Grotto when we can resupply at Charming Springs?

What other elements can are maximally provocative but not overwhelming to compel player interest in different geographical areas of a map? What would make players care about a place, either to go there or avoid it? How do you make the contents of map areas mysterious but also seem beneficial to player attention?

How would you represent any or all of the above ideas on a map? Would you use toggle-able layers somehow (and how would that work for players' print use?) i.e. for supply/demand I was thinking adding two boxes next to settlement names would allow me to change the commodities currently in supply/demand (as in Port Royale games) rather than permanently placing a single pair on the map.
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Ryan Vanasse's profile photoAdam Minnie's profile photoJosephe Vandel's profile photo
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I see, we may talk a bit more in the future :)
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Adam Minnie

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Wow, I am greatly intrigued by this, but how on earth do you plan a game for this format?
Would GMs get a discount?
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Adam Minnie's profile photoJon Cole's profile photoKelley Vanda's profile photoJoshuha Owen's profile photo
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Hmm seems the perfect slot to try out an Undying game across 4 sessions. Might be interested in running something as well. Let me check my schedule.
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Adam Minnie

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As a GM I use a host of tools and generators to prime and fuel my improvisational creativity and confidence, but what tools do my players get?
How do you prime and empower players' creativity (especially new role-players) so they feel equipped to confidently embrace opportunities for narrative authority?
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Phil Hatfield's profile photoTim Jensen's profile photoJason Morningstar's profile photoAdam Minnie's profile photo
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Thanks for the ideas folks!
+Jason Morningstar that is a such a key part that I so often overlook. That'll be how we start next time, and I'm thinking it will be especially helpful for the new players.
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Adam Minnie

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It has been a while, but... there is a new post on my blog! Check it out.

News of the upcoming game XCOM2 has resurrected my perennial interest in a tabletop XCOM experience, this time using Savage Worlds.
http://exploring-infinity.com/2015/07/06/xcom-2-as-a-tabletop-rpg/
Firaxis recently announced a fall 2015 release of XCOM 2, a follow-up to XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the expansion Enemy Within. If you haven't seen the teaser, check it out. It's enough to get me very...
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Adam Minnie

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Today's soundtrack presented by Emancipator. Grooving hard a decade later. Oh and this one too: https://youtu.be/zhajghLRQ_A
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Adam Minnie

Requests For GMing Help  - 
 
Request brainstorming help from clever GMs: What being or faction with necromancy-themed powers would fill an abandoned Beholder's lair with dangerous traps, especially the Beholder's intact museum/vault of trophies and relics? The being/force may not be evil, but just wants to keep the beholders' old relics from being disturbed, but why? Or it is evil, but again, what purpose would lacing an old lair with necromantic traps serve?

Follow-up question: what would induce a powerful beholder to leave behind a lair full of its gallery/vault full of awesome relics?

If you're curious for more context, I play in a now-post-apocalyptic world based loosely on Eberron, but blown up into tons of earthmotes. So this beholder was involved in killing some key Gatekeepers who were fighting against the daelkyr invasion from Xoriat (Far Realm).
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James Shields's profile photoWilliam Schar's profile photoAdam Minnie's profile photoRomulus Stoica's profile photo
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Well ...  based on the fact that your setting is based on Eberron, then there are some obvious choices.
1. The "abandoned" Beholder's lair is now occupied by a branch of one of the various Cults of the Dragon Below. The cultist are preserving the relicts and trophies of the beholder to study them and maybe learn more about the beholders and their creators, the daelkyrs.
2. The beholder doesn't need to be dead. It can be trapped, restrained somewhere on the lowest levels of the lair by the last of the gatekeepers that fought it and now the cultist are trying to release it for their own purposes.
3. There could be also other minor aberrations in the dungeon, now controlled by the cultists by means of some artifacts found in the vault/museum of the beholder.
4. Somewhere in the dungeon could be the remains of the last gatekeeper, maybe even the gatekeeper's ghost, who can't rest before the beholder is vanquished definitively. In the dried hand of the gatekeeper's skeleton the players can find an artifact that can help them do just that. The cultists could also search for that artifact, giving you the possibility to add a time limit and more tension to the story.
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Adam Minnie

Discussion  - 
 
Orders of Might/Magnitude in Blades in the Dark?
I really like the Order of Might from Torchbearer/Mouse Guard, which basically constrains what sort of interactions PCs can have with other creatures based on the relative might or epic-ness of the two.

As a loose example, beings far higher than normal humans/elves/dwarves on the scale, like ancient dragons or elder gods can only be interacted with by fleeing. As beings are more comparable in might to the PCs, the PCs can interact with them in additional ways, like driving them off (but not killing), capturing them, eventually killing them, etc.

It's intriguing because it basically is a dynamic invulnerability that forces players to consider alternative approaches than the classic slay-and-loot default to adventurering.

I'm curious if something like this order of might could enhance or inform Blades in the Dark play. Position already informs what is possible based on relative power of both sides of a conflict. You're controlled when manipulating gullible masses, but desperate when manipulating immortal masterminds.

Nevertheless, what if an order of might like in Torchbearer enhanced that further. The cutter can fight a crowd of thugs sure, but can he take down a leviathan in a wrestling match? This could especially help with inhuman or supernatural powers. Can you kill a man-sized automaton, capture one? Maybe irrespective of position, a gang of Quality 1 humans can only drive off an equal number of automatons, spirits, or fiends, but can't even attempt to actually kill them. Maybe that particular fiend can maybe be captured by mortal hands (desperate roll permitted), but not killed (no roll possible)?

Is not even permitting PCs to roll a desperate attempt in a vastly outmatched situation contrary to the spirit of the game? Is this sort of consideration already an assumption in play (due to effect factors that could reduce a "success" to 0 effect)? Could codifying it somewhat with an Order of Might help anything?
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Andrew Shields's profile photoAndrea Parducci's profile photoJohn Harper's profile photo
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This is a mechanic that will be added when +Sage LaTorra does the supers playset. Probably not necessary for standard Blades, usually, but it'll be there if you need it.
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Adam Minnie

Discussion  - 
 
Any tips for lazily managing other faction downtime actions?
I'm a lazy GM. I've run about 12-15 sessions for my players running the cult crew The Society of Horus, but I've been realizing they've had it somewhat easy since I have failed to adequately do downtime actions for other factions.

Of course there's been a bold moves by main enemies and even their closest ally who's leader they drove mad, but I can't help but feel there needs to be more repercussions to all the craziness they're whipping out each session.

How do you manage faction downtime actions for a dynamic-feeling setting without spending too much time on it outside of the game?
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Colin Fahrion's profile photoAdam Minnie's profile photoAndrew Shields's profile photo
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Thanks, +Adam Minnie! I worked in what was in the various levels of the entanglements in the quickstart, but this was at least 1, maybe 2 iterations ago. The main down sides are that it has a 2d6 cumulative roll and nothing else does, and also that it hits DAMN HARD if you get a rough roll. Something you've been working on can just get blown away by random fate.

This is not necessarily all bad, and it may not be gone for good if the crew acts quickly.
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Adam Minnie

Blogs & Podcasts  - 
 
News of the upcoming game XCOM2 has resurrected my perennial interest in a tabletop experience that offers all the emotions, tension, strategy, and desperation of the XCOM alien invasion premise. This time I will be using Savage Worlds as a base system.
http://exploring-infinity.com/2015/07/06/xcom-2-as-a-tabletop-rpg/
Firaxis recently announced a fall 2015 release of XCOM 2, a follow-up to XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the expansion Enemy Within. If you haven't seen the teaser, check it out. It's enough to get me very...
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Manuel Sambs's profile photoAdam Minnie's profile photoRichard Wappel's profile photoMike Elston's profile photo
2 comments
 
Most excellent! That's exactly what I'm looking for +Manuel Sambs. Thanks!
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Adam Minnie

Discussion  - 
 
I notice Supply is off the Action list now, and now Skirmish is separate from Mayhem (and Murder) while Invoke is separate from Attune. While I'm intrigued to know how Invoke vs Attune will play out, I'm glad there's a bit more variety in supernatural fields for my group's Cult.

The addition of the consulates also makes me eager for a political crew type, either politicians, activists, or maybe lawyers. :)
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John Harper's profile photoAndrew Shields's profile photo
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As I look at it, it seems to me that the distinction is between using natural ability to manipulate machines and energy and ghosts, OR channeling a separate supernatural power through yourself. Innate sensitivity, or innate conduit.

If that is the distinction, then you could have electroplasm and ghosts use both; a medium would use Invoke to allow people to communicate with ghosts, but use Attune to repel a ghost with a spirit mask. 

Likewise, a sacrificial dagger of an ancient god may need the priest to Attune to it, but use Invoke to channel the God of Starvation's bone-crumbling attrition into a target.

+John Harper clarifies in a different direction, however, where one is science and the other is occult. 

Whichever way it goes, I think clarification could help. It is interesting to raise the question. The main impact is on how non-Whispers would use either; if Attune is like "Use Magic Device" then it allows relatively normal people greater access to magic stuff. Invoke could allow for letting more power seep into prayers to not-entirely-deaf supernatural creatures.

If Attune is more sensitivity and allows for detecting the supernatural and also using supernatural devices, that's a nuanced difference. Invoke could potentially be the ability to focus the energy of other supernatural creatures, or repel/compel them.
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Data, idea, & collaboration wrangler; freelance writer, editor, game designer
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Imaginator, explorer, and synergizer in God's spoken world
Introduction
Put me in circles about: Digital art, tabletop gaming, game design, rpg hacking/re-skinning, GMing, digital tools for tabletop rpgs, expanding imagination/creativity, blogging, writing/editing, exploring (travel, learning, experimenting), appreciating beauty (food, drink, nature, bizarre critters), higher education, interdisciplinary collaboration, MLIS/Information Science, human development, humanities (literature, history, philosophy), theology, dance, marriage, parenting, Jonathan Edwards, dubstep, acoustic music, quantum physics, How Things Work, languages/linguistics, metaphor.

You may request to be added to the following circles: Design & games, D&D news, Art & Mapping, Skype/Online Gaming (not computer gaming), Higher Education, and if you tell me particular rpgs you enjoy and I can classify you that way as well (eg. dnd, FATE, Cortex Plus, X-Com RPG, ORE, ‘indie’, etc)

For purposes of online gaming or conversation, I live in GMT -6.

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