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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 52 - most online ever: 843 (October 22, 2020, 11:18:00 PM)
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 on: May 29, 2012, 10:16:25 AM 
Started by fodazd - Last post by David Berg
Yeah, rolling for things where you have no idea how well you did is awkward.  Hiding it certainly sounds better than what you described.  Better still might be to scrap Research rolls entirely.  It sounds like you are getting exactly zero bang for your buck on those.  If it must be determined whether or not the characters turn up correct info, you could instead:

a) Just let the GM decide.  It ain't cheating if you agree to it.  Agree on some constraints for what's fun, to help guide the GM's decisions.  If the GM is stumped, they can secretly flip a coin.

b) Roleplay it out.  Show us what you're doing to find the info, step by step.  The GM will respond step by step.  At the end, you'll have some info, and a very good idea of why it might or might not be correct.

These approaches lose the difficulty-modeling simulation of "how likely is this character to be able to research this topic?"  Is that okay?  Even if it's not perfect, is it worth it, considering the current costs of the simulation?

 on: May 29, 2012, 05:46:30 AM 
Started by The_Mormegil - Last post by Emily Care
One system you might benefit from reading is Burning Wheel. The designers worked hard to integrate character into action, and there are a wide variety of tactical choices to be made. They are abstracted more than in Dungeons & Dragons, but the workings of the game might be of interest to you.

 on: May 29, 2012, 04:03:01 AM 
Started by fodazd - Last post by fodazd
The key is the GM communicating that there is in fact a fictional reason for the surprising roll outcome.  If the GM gets in the habit of always doing this, then fears of cheating the rules tend to fade, in my experience.  (Cheating the spirit of play by randomly reinforcing all your wooden doors with adamantite is another issue.)

Well, in situations where the player knows the cause of the surprising outcome immediately after the roll, this is a pretty good and straightforward way of doing it. However, on a research or investigation roll, the causes for unusual target numbers will have to stay hidden until the validity of the information is confirmed. Otherwise, the players would immediatly know that their information is faulty. The basic problem is this:
-> If a player rolls very good on his research roll, then the given information is much more likely to be believed. There is just no uncertainty there... And if the GM gives faulty information on such a roll, the players will understandably not think this is particularly fair. Except of course when the subject of the information is really, really obscure.
-> If a player rolls very bad on his research roll, then everyone immediately knows that the information will be faulty. Also no uncertainty. Here, the GM could just randomly give out some pieces of correct information, but that doesn't change the basic problem: If correct information on bad rolls becomes commonplace, then the players could wonder why they even bother with learning these skills or doing these rolls.

I just see no way of eliminating this without hiding the dice.

If it's investigation or research you have to be a bit more creative. But then again, what's the point in a research roll that either lets the story to continue or blocks that path entirely? You can try to set the situation up so that the roll is needed later, in a heated situation. Or: make those rolls in the open, give them false information and be explicit that it is false information. But give them XP if they choose to pursue that path anyway. Tempt them!

Ok, some more things about our group: We usually don't make research rolls to further the plot, and therefore a failed research roll doesn't usually block the path. Instead, we do reasearch rolls that are of the form "Hmm... We know that we are going to fight this type of monster soon. I try to find out its weaknesses!" or "We currently plan to move to area xy. What kinds of dangers can I expect there and how do I prepare against them?". So a successful roll increases our chances of succeding, but is not strictly required to solve the plot.

Also, I doubt that XP-rewards for willingly following the wrong leads is the right thing for our group. We like it if we as players are uncertain, not just the characters. And within this uncertainty, we can then try our best with the information we have. I don't know if I like the concept of a reward for deliberately not trying your best...

 on: May 29, 2012, 12:10:37 AM 
Started by Zireael - Last post by Zireael
I'm trying to cut down on the number of classes.
Wizard, rogue, cleric, druid, monk and warrior are here to stay. Is it possible to make all the other classes "advancement paths" of these?

 on: May 28, 2012, 11:52:11 PM 
Started by fodazd - Last post by way
Why don't you just roll when the information is needed? Like, don't roll for a find traps or stealth when the rouge enters the dungeon. Roll it when the trap is about be activated or the rouge is about to be spotted! It's an instant action generator instead of a boring set-up roll.

If it's investigation or research you have to be a bit more creative. But then again, what's the point in a research roll that either lets the story to continue or blocks that path entirely? You can try to set the situation up so that the roll is needed later, in a heated situation. Or: make those rolls in the open, give them false information and be explicit that it is false information. But give them XP if they choose to pursue that path anyway. Tempt them!

Regards, way

 on: May 28, 2012, 07:03:45 PM 
Started by Otsego - Last post by jerry
BunniRabbi, what Justin wrote is basically correct, assuming the United States. You can read the Copyright Office's take on games at:


Copyright does not protect the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it. Nor does copyright protect any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in developing, merchandising, or playing a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.

Copyright law barely restricts copying games. It doesn't restrict compatible works, as long as you don't copy actual text (as opposed to terminology, which can't be copyrighted); I don't think I've ever seen a game supplement copy actual text from the game it was made for. I'm sure they exist, but they're rare.

For compatible works, two court cases to look at are Sega v. Accolade, in which Accolade made games for use with a Sega system without permission from Sega; and Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc. in which a compatible product was made for use with a Nintendo game system without permission of Nintendo.

There is further discussion of court cases regarding compatible works at http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/copyright/supplements.html.

As far as advertising compatibility, this is a statement of fact or not fact. If it's true, it's legal to say it. You can see more on the use of trademarks at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/metaschool/fisher/domain/tm.htm and http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/policystmt/ad-compare.htm. If you look around, you'll see the use of trademarks for compatible use all over the place. Manufacturers make car parts and advertise that they are compatible with a specific make of car; they make parts for kitchen appliances and advertise that they are compatible with that particular brand of appliance, and so on. In general, in the United States, this sort of compatible-with advertising, like comparative advertising, is encouraged.

 on: May 28, 2012, 06:06:46 PM 
Started by Otsego - Last post by BunniRabbi
- As long as you don't use the OGL, you can make a supplement for any game system without infringing their copyright.
- As long as you don't use the OGL, you can state that your system is compatible with D&D.

That seems to contradict what I've heard elsewhere.  Can you site a reference?

 on: May 28, 2012, 09:24:44 AM 
Started by Grigori - Last post by guildofblades
Hi Grigori,

You should be able to do business as a self proprieter operating under your own social security number. As a limited partnership GOB Publishing operated many years under this structure. It just means you will have to keep good business records and be able to fill out all the proper tax forms. Different states likely have different filing requirements, but here in Michigan, than means based on your income level, you have to file and submit estimated tax payments either annually, quarterly or monthly. Those text payments get reconciled at the year of tax filings and you either pay more or get a tax refund depending on weather your total income (after operating expenses) were higher or lower than your estimates.

To do business under an assumed name, however, most states require you to file some form of "Doing Business As" document for business operating at less than any form of incorporated status. The DBA is what lets you legally accept payments as "game company bob" or whatever name you chose as opposed to having to only accept payments and do business under your legal name (as tied to your social security number).

An EIN is the federal Employer Indentification Number and generally is only going to be required is your little company intends to hire anyone on payroll. Though here in Michigan, our Retail Group also needed it as a prerequisite for acquring a State of Michigan Sales Tax License.

GOB Publishing

 on: May 28, 2012, 09:10:03 AM 
Started by BunniRabbi - Last post by guildofblades
Hi Grigori,

To my knowledge Paizo was never sued by Wizards of thge Coast. The OGL actually was released years earlier as a part of the D&D 3rd edition rollout.

Paizo was born as a company headed by Lisa Stevens, the very first employee at Wizards when it was first getting started, and it began by taking over pubications of the entire Wizards magazine publishing department, including assuming all of their overhead and employees, when Hasbo was looking to shut down that department.

Ok, that being said, publishing a product "for" another game has these issues:

1) Without a license you can't use any of their copyrighr protected text (which would be just about all of their text) nor make any reference to their Trademarks. This alone will make it very difficult for your product to draw a proper association to the original product and thus its fans.

2) While the text of a game publication and its trademarks are both protected, strictly speaking, the "game mechanics" themselves are ideas and therefore not protected. However, to access the use of those game mechanics without violating any of their copyrights would mean finding a way to completely rewrite and explain all of those rules yourself, without drawing from their original text or duplicating any of that original text. That in itself can be a challenge and to avoid a lawsuit.

3) When producing a product that is to be used "exclusively" with another product, even should you avoid all the copyright and trademark pitfalls and find a means to associate your product to the game and the fans of the game for which your product was intended, being a product completely dependant on the original manufacturer's product might still mean your product could be declared a derivative works and you could become legally liable the same as if you had actually vilated copyrights and trademarks.

The Guild of Blades has successfully published many "Axis & Allies" variants, a "Talisman" variant, a couple "Risk" variants and a "Titan" variant over the years. But none of these games were designed and intended to be "for use" with any of those original games, but were rather complete games upon themselves and they avoided the copyright and trademark traps. That said, we were also challenged legally initially in a couple of those cases, but as our ducks were in a row those challenges could not proceed any further.

The usual caveat applies. I am not a lawyer and if you think you might want to pursue this, a consultation with an intellectual propperty lawyer is advised.

GOB Publishing

 on: May 28, 2012, 08:03:08 AM 
Started by Gordon C. Landis - Last post by Abkajud
My own early play-groups (for AD&D, Vampire, etc.) were characterized by having the absolute minimum level of interest in RPGs-as-a-hobby while still being able to enjoy play.
Only I read the gaming magazines; only I bought new supplements, eager for the Official word on this or that new concept.

Eventually I decided the best way to handle this was by refusing to play games that were supplement-heavy, and of course I did eventually stop enjoying White Wolf's fiction-writing team, which really put the stake through the heart of my bloated gaming budget.

To me the issue is one of clearly assigning play priorities, which in turn gives players something to master, something for play to be "about". If we're all just here to enjoy someone else's plot, why use mechanics at all, beyond simply consulting the GM as to the outcome of our actions.

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