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@dapperbear in general I fully believe in offloading as much to the players as I can. They'er in control, they do the rolls. I do have them keep in mind what their pet can and can't do within the bounds of the setting/system. Orders can't be all that complex if it's a regular animal, but if it's magical in some way or they have a magical bond that shifts things a bit.

So in honor of Superb Owl Sunday, let’s discuss animal companions! Familiars, Druid pets, and other semi-NPC animals! How do you handle them? Have the player basically treat them like another PC they control? Have them full NPC where the player can suggest but not demand? Something in between?

How I do it for my players is that they can say what they want their animals to do, giving orders, but I control all dice rolls and specific actions.

I recently saw Raiders of the Lost Ark at a special theater showing and it really made me want to play/run a pulp adventure game. What non-fantasy genre of RPG would you like to try that you haven’t before (or have only a little experience)?

My column this week was inspired by @dapperbear 's earlier question about magic and how it would affect the world... this was too long to toot. (But has some fun ideas at the end.)

If you can heal injuries, but not cure disease, basically enhancing the natural healing process, this has significant effects on the development of nonmagical medicine.

Introducing magic to a technological society has a very different dynamic. For example, using a simple comparison spell massively improves the quality control process in a steampunk world's factories.

@dapperbear How much it affects society will also be based on how ubiquitous and easy/simple magic might be. If spell-casting requires complex ritual and takes some of the lifeforce from the caster(s), then science could still grow alongside it, but developments in each could lead to unique discoveries (even if avoiding the trope of magitech).

@dapperbear I'm inclined to think that spark doesn't necessarily mean everythign needs to be fireproof because, well, matches and lighters haven't resulted in that.

@dapperbear I've always imagined that healing magic, especially magic on that scale would require pretty in depth knowledge of how it all works (ie: even if the mage doesn't know that cells are cells they understand that there's something tiny that they have to fix, and the understanding they would need for larger scale things would only get more granular)

Actually, let’s focus in on curative magic. Sure you can close wounds, heal broken bones, cure infectious diseases and neutralize poisons, but what about genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia? Age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s? Cancer?

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@nafzib just created magical airports. “I’m sorry, your lordship, but you missed your scheduled teleportation window and we can’t guarantee your physical integrity if we send you now. The next scheduled port is this evening at 6:32PM.”

@dapperbear Speaking of instant communication, I'm working on a typical D&Dish setting/game right now where there's a worldwide spectator "sport" that is broadcast via magic to viewing walls for the general public to see. The players will be pro players in this "sport". So, I've thought about it a bit! :)

Also, they would probably need designated teleportation "landing pads" so that people wouldn't accidentally teleport into a newly constructed building or some such (for big cities).

Necromancy is traditionally the “evil” branch or magic, but I can easily see a society that considers enchantment worse. Literally messing with someone’s mind & free will? That’s some paranoia fuel right there.

Let’s think about how magic, either arcane or divine, would change a society. Not just the big ways, but the little ones, too. Sending spells and scrying would mean (near) real-time long distance communication would be possible. Cure wounds/disease/poison spells mean medicine is badly stunted. Cantrips like Spark mean that every building would have to be fireproof. Can you think of more examples?

@dapperbear My character had a "birthday" party (It was my birthday IRL). Did some roles to determine whether the presents I got were useful or actively harmful. Had a dance off, accidentally drugged myself. Good times. :)

@dapperbear I sure do! Often my party will get roped into a community's harvest festival, but I also tend to have the local culture maintain a "Constructive Criticism Day," where folk are encouraged to candidly offer criticism - which is basically an excuse to have a meta-session with my players.

Yes, regularly. Birthdays, naming days, local festivals, all are noted in the GM calendar and are played through. Sometimes important social interactions occur at them.

Question time!

Do you ever have non-holiday/“small” celebrations in your games? Like weddings or birthday parties or coming-of-age celebrations or anything?

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