Safety, Coffee, & Three Ring Binders

In my previous post, I mentioned a Session Zero document. It is based on a handful I've seen around the internet and on Consent in Gaming by Monte Cook Games. I also added in a questions about content like Psionics, Clockwork, Spelljamming, etc. I will link to it here, but know that it is incomplete. I texted the group more information about the x-card as well as Lines and Veils along with the Support Flower, but those are not in the document yet. I am also considering the addition of Stars and Wishes because it is positive and affirming. Any advice on Lines and Veils or Stars and Wishes is welcome.

The content parts of Session Zero focus on specifics of the setting. In my first draft I asked for Low Fantasy vs. High Fantasy on a scale of 1 to 10. I realized though, that these players had never played with me, so they didn't know about The Temple of Oa, Hewcasters, The Soulless, or the Crabmen of Hlong Khagee. They don't know about the alternate ships of my Spelljammer or the competitor civilization to the Arcane.

I also realized that High Fantasy to me is really out there with flying cities, lunar colonies, and accessible portals to everywhere. The idea of aerial combat may be a '10' on High Fantasy to them. Without stating my default assumptions and asking if they okay with those assumptions, I had no real way to determining what was fun for them, much less what they wanted me to add-on.

That One Thing

The item that generated the most questions was the Coffee is Common trope. Here is how I describe it:

Coffee creates a different kind of tavern. In the real world, coffeehouses sparked great ideas, debates, and heated philosophical discussions. Alcohol sparks the appearance of great ideas, as well as debates and heated discussions or a different sort.

In other words, a meeting place that kept everyone sober had a profound effect. Some of the ideas propelled revolutions and literary movements. It doesn't mean it's all positive, but I imagine a place that fosters sober, albeit energetic, discourse would have all kinds of scientific discourse. In a fantasy world, this would undoubtedly generate discussions on magic and their traditions. If the players want high fantasy, coffeehouses become the source of a new age of magic. If they want low fantasy, it become a place of scientific progress like rudimentary steam and gunpowder.

That Other Thing

I plan to revise the document to better explain the X-Card, add Lines and Veils, and explain the no "R" or "X" campaigns. Fun is fun however you do it. I'm not telling anyone how to have fun. I just think it is fair to say upfront that Sex and Romance in a game is not my thing. If it is your thing, then I would want you to find a DM that enjoys it and does it well. I just don't like playing NPCs as a love interest, but I would be okay with PG-13 Player to Player romance, I guess. I don't allow the Horny Bard trope. I don't even have seduction as a roll or special ability. Just nope.

That 2e Thing

I plan to write a lot about my 2e prep for this group. As of this writing, the game may not happen. That said, I plan to make a big three-ring binder o' stuff anyway. Using For Gold & Glory as a base, I hope to make kits, spells, and optional rules that everyone can use. The next set of posts will feature actual gaming content. Am I worried about the players seeing it? Not really. If anything, they may start looking for these things.

The original covers for the 2nd edition Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide. The Monstrous Manual cover is from the re-released hardcover instead of the three ring binder.

Take It Back to ’89

I was texting to a friend of mine about their 5e game, but he interrupted himself to mention going old school. I immediately thought about B/X and thought about re-reading my old Blue Box at home. My friend remarked that his group would really like to run an older game, so I texted, "B/X, Rules Cyclopedia, or AD&D?"

He replied, "Second Edition."

I was taken aback a bit. That's when it dawned on me that I am old and he is not. AD&D came out before he was born, but was still around when he was a kid. I quickly moved on asking him who would run it. He said he has the books so he is learning it and then there was a pause. I waited a bit and then I made a fateful decision. I felt myself typing the question, "Would you like me to run it?"

Keep in mind that I have never really run 2e rules-as-written. My Edition was an unholy mishmash of systems, rules, and Jolt Cola infused madness. (Note, If you read the link, know that I don't use anything ACKS related anymore. I've replaced it with Old School Essentials.) Why did I just offer to run 2e, and 2e rules-as-written? I was dumbfounded by my brains' inability to stop my fingers from asking that questions. I eagerly awaited a response that said thanks for the offer but that the group will take care of it, would you like to play with us?

He replied that it would be awesome if I ran it. The full gravity of my hubris landed on my shoulders. I gently placed my phone on my desk and asked out loud, "what have I done?"

I sent a link to my Session Zero document to get a feel for what the group wanted to run. I found my backup of the 2e Rules on CD I found years ago at the thrift store and went to work. To paraphrase the Wu, I thought to myself, "Let's take it back to eighty-nine."

More texts followed with his desired character using the Myrmidon kit. When I saw that he rolled 18 for Strength, I had to explain the STR stat in 2e with 18 and percentages for Fighters. He rolled a 64. With that corrected, I then had to look up the kit. I found an Excel character sheet that calculated kits correctly, so I then turned that into a character sheet. I began to get excited about running it.

I started making a DM screen and offered to run Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. Now I am awaiting confirmation from the rest of the group.

Meanwhile, I am piecing together For Gold & Glory with my other digital books. I am tempted to say "CAN I HAVE ONLY 80 POTENTIAL MODIFIERS PLEASE" and resurrect my ill-fated 2e clone. Alas, they want the original, so that will not work. So far, settings do not need to be canon. This means, of course, that I will simply need to create an actual three-ring binder for the creatures, kits, and locations.

An Idea is Born

A long time ago, I set up my blog to enable posting by sending an email. It has been a while and with version 6.0 of WordPress, I wanted to see if it would still work.

The other reason for this post is that I am trying to piece together a Choose Your Path campaign setting where the DM and players get information about regions of the campaign world as they explore them. For example, the party is on Pella's Column, if the party travels to explore the Miasma, there is some information in the Pella's Column document to get the first adventure going. In the DM's section of that document, there is basic information about the Miasma with information about getting the detailed document about the Miasma. After the initial game session in the Miasma, the DM sends a request for the detailed document.

(click to embiggen)

The Miasma document is a sourcebook for that area and provides hooks for other areas of the larger world. It is big enough for several sessions and introductory material for several other places connected to the Miasma. The process repeats when the party encounters one of those places.

What prevents a DM from just asking for everything all at once?

You can't move backwards, the adventure always moves you forward. Once you enter the Miasma, you can't move backwards to Pella's Column. You can move within the Miasma or move forward to new places.

It is possible to move around until you can move towards Pella's Column, but that will take at least two or three other encounters before a document will connect you back to Pella's Column.

Is it railroading? Yes and no. You always have a choice of where to move forward. You lose the choice to move backwards. However, as you move to new places, you discover way to revisit areas. After visiting enough areas, the DM will begin to ask the party "where do you want to go?" allowing for more direct ways to travel around.

A DM request will immediately send a digital file so that the DM can prep. If possible, I would like to also send a physical booklet/zine/pocketmod as a physical reference. I imagine the physical components functioning like the 2e Monstrous Manual with the ability to add to a 3 ring binder. (A dude can dream, can't he?)

Anyway, that's the idea. We'll see where it goes from here. What do you think?