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Old 06-15-2019, 08:30 AM   #241
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game Reprint

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Are you speaking from a sales standpoint? I ask because, in my experience as a gamer who doesn't sell games, this is not true. Folks talk quite a bit about dragons and demons and trolls and other monsters that have a collective consciousness that's outside the game. It's hard to convey to someone who isn't already a gamer how cool a fight was against a beholder since you first have to explain what a beholder is and in ways that do not already involve game terms.
Personally, I’m talking about gamers I know and none of them have been newbies for a very long time. But they are pretty new to GURPS, for the most part. I’m using DFRPG to get them used to the GURPS rules, in a style of game I know they already enjoy, before potentially branching out into different genres.

Also, beholders and mindflayers specifically are pretty much apex bad guys. You build up to fighting them and they’re still rock hard to defeat. Such things are great tales made of.
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:26 PM   #242
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game Reprint

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Also, beholders and mindflayers specifically are pretty much apex bad guys. You build up to fighting them and they’re still rock hard to defeat. Such things are great tales made of.
That doesn’t address my issue at all. My issue is whether or not those apex monsters need to be original monsters or can come from mythology, and moreover whether original monsters should take precedence over monsters from mythology. My arguments are:
  1. There’s no reason these apex baddies need to be original monsters. The best argument for this is that original monsters can better take advantage of game loopholes, which helps makes them a challenge. Still, the apex monster of the adventure that happened when Arneson and Megarry drove down to Lake Geneva wasn’t an original monster, but a balrog, and the participants were suitably impressed. You can have epic fights against trolls and giants and dragons and vampires and monsters with the short description of “demon.”
  2. Original monsters only become interesting once you have already played the game. Beholders and mindflayers have little allure to non-gamers since they have no image of them outside of D&D. Because some of us have been gamers so long, we often lose that perspective.
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Old 06-16-2019, 02:04 PM   #243
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What about ideal animals for PCs the encounter? They would be animals created the Divine originally desired before the Infernal corrupted the world? They might lead other animals of their mind against the PCs and be much tougher than regular animals.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:49 AM   #244
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game Reprint

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Original monsters only become interesting once you have already played the game. Beholders and mindflayers have little allure to non-gamers since they have no image of them outside of D&D. Because some of us have been gamers so long, we often lose that perspective.
We also lose the perspective that non-gamers just starting to get into gaming have no idea at all what "monsters" should be. At most they've heard of "dragons," because "This game is like Dungeons & Dragons, right?", and they know about "demons," because that's a catchall term for anything evil and nasty. It would be a very bad assumption indeed to think they're familiar with real-world mythology and fantasy novels/movies, though.

I've had to explain what an "orc" is after Peter Jackson so thoughtfully filled hours of footage and thousands to theaters with stories about fighting orcs. I've had to explain what a "minotaur" is, and a "titan," and a bunch of other stuff out of myth. Yes, people know what "vampires" and "zombies" are, except that they expect the former to be a pastiche of Dracula retellings and "those guys from Blade and Buffy and Underworld," and the latter to conform to Romero-style horror movies . . . and when the versions in the game aren't like that, they get bummed, so you end up apologizing.

Honestly, explanations and apologies are a waste of time. If you're giving people monsters they haven't heard of anyway, why not give them monsters that nobody has heard of, so That Guy can't lean on player knowledge to ruin the challenge? And so that there's no risk that there's some version in a film somewhere that will build up false hopes?

I think the best plan in a game intended to bring new people to gaming is to assume they've never looked inside a game manual to see the art or learn about the monsters. Basically, to take the stance you're introducing the reader to freaky-looking things that their alter-egos are going to fight.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:43 PM   #245
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game Reprint

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We also lose the perspective that non-gamers just starting to get into gaming have no idea at all what "monsters" should be.
Considering the sheer number of RPG fights involving bandits and evil wizards, this doesn't strike me as meaningful.

(As an aside, I'd welcome help for making mighty spellcasters more than new monsters, regardless of the source of the monster. Picking spell lists is a pain in GURPS or DFRPG, especially for arch-wizards or high priests.)

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It would be a very bad assumption indeed to think they're familiar with real-world mythology and fantasy novels/movies, though.
I'm not making the assumption that they are familiar with real-world mythology and fantasy novels/movies. I'm making the assumption that they might be. And even for the new monsters, it helps to have a one-sentence core description or simple analogy ("Tarkus is an armadillo/tank") to which the players and the GM can easily relate.

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Yes, people know what "vampires" and "zombies" are, except that they expect the former to be a pastiche of Dracula retellings and "those guys from Blade and Buffy and Underworld," and the latter to conform to Romero-style horror movies . . . and when the versions in the game aren't like that, they get bummed, so you end up apologizing.
I've never once had this issue. Most of my crowd isn't into these properties, but I don't think I've ever had an issue like this with anything in potpourri fantasy or scifi (obviously, if you play a Star Wars game, you'll get complaints when all the Stormtroopers shoot straight). Most issues in games I've played involve complex game rules; a discussion about flanking in D&D 3e once took hours.

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If you're giving people monsters they haven't heard of anyway, why not give them monsters that nobody has heard of, so That Guy can't lean on player knowledge to ruin the challenge?
I find the best way to counter the player knowledge of That Guy is to not game with That Guy in the first place. Nobody could possibly That Guy-proof any gaming system, from TWERPS to F.A.T.A.L. Plus, even with player knowledge, that still doesn't win the fight, as the dice may go against you. And GMs can change spell lists, set a fight on tough terrain, give the foes a cool weapon ...

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I think the best plan in a game intended to bring new people to gaming is to assume they've never looked inside a game manual to see the art or learn about the monsters. Basically, to take the stance you're introducing the reader to freaky-looking things that their alter-egos are going to fight.
I find that new players have issues with too much information at the gaming table, especially adults. (Kids are actually better able to handle the complexity; their ability to read game rules, however, is often in question. At my own gaming table, a 55-year-old man complains about having to aim, a 40-year-old man has issues understanding disadvantage limits and how they affect point levels, but my 11-year-old daughter gets points instinctively while not able to read every word in the book and has no trouble aiming her bow before shooting.) They find the sheets full of numbers to be daunting. I'm all in favor of throwing them a possible bone every so often rather than having them fight nothing but indescribable horrors.

I'm not saying "don't create original monsters"--far from it! Not only do they give variety to a game and make great bosses, they also tend to have original takes on mechanics that GMs can steal. I'm merely saying that folks do expect the classics for many reasons: they're easy to convey to others, they're handy when converting D&D adventures (though I think a system that exists only to handle old D&D adventures should just be D&D), they often have third-party artwork or miniatures that you can just show your players to symbolize the monster, there's a chance you might buy a product based on their presence (for example, I bought GURPS Adaptions since the kalidah statblock was in the preview). At the least, I'd expect more hitting up of Cardboard Heroes for monsters than just GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 3 did, as Evil Stevie already owns that artwork.
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:33 PM   #246
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game Reprint

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I think the best plan in a game intended to bring new people to gaming is to assume they've never looked inside a game manual to see the art or learn about the monsters. Basically, to take the stance you're introducing the reader to freaky-looking things that their alter-egos are going to fight.
Thats probably the best case for artwork I've seen. I dont mind good art, and I often appreciate it. I just am very unlikely to buy a book based on art.
I grew up reading books with written descriptions and no art so I learned and enjoyed the process o imagining the authors words into mental pictures.

As for the other bit,I tend to make that mistake. I consider myself reasonably intelligent but no genius. So if I know something I am often surprised when others dont know it too, with the exception of a few things I put special study into.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:09 PM   #247
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Thats probably the best case for artwork I've seen. I dont mind good art, and I often appreciate it. I just am very unlikely to buy a book based on art.
In the specific case of monsters, having artwork helps even the GM get a handle on the monster. The boxed set was really bad in this regard. Among the artwork in the original Monsters were red dragons, giant rats, a giant spider, scorpion swarms, and a zombie, which are the exact kind of monsters I advocated above in no small part because we do not need artwork to understand what they are. By contrast, original monsters like ciuala, eyes of death, frost snakes, ice wyrms, mindwarpers, and void brutes which are not obvious from a name and a very short description absolutely need artwork, all of which were missing it in Monsters. It not only looks nice, but it's handy for actually understanding what the monster does. Which is why I'm happy that the new book has artwork for all the monsters.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:11 PM   #248
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2 and Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game Reprint

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(As an aside, I'd welcome help for making mighty spellcasters more than new monsters, regardless of the source of the monster. Picking spell lists is a pain in GURPS or DFRPG, especially for arch-wizards or high priests.)
For Clerics, DF 7 Clerics does a good job of differentiating them, as for spell lists, once you've got several decent ones, you're golden.

Make up a few Clerics, two to three different Druids, and one of each flavor of Wizard and what more do you ever need? Maybe swap out a few spells here or there, increase or decrease their skill levels... but it's not like every evil Cleric needs a customized list.

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...obviously, if you play a Star Wars game, you'll get complaints when all the Stormtroopers shoot straight...
Just remind them that on the Death Star they were deliberately missing to let the heroes escape.

And politely ignore that they never actually hit ever again if they weren't shooting Leia.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:42 AM   #249
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For Clerics, DF 7 Clerics does a good job of differentiating them, as for spell lists, once you've got several decent ones, you're golden.
That isn't anywhere close to my issue. The issue is dealing with mighty spellcasters with many spells. They take a long time to make, and it's hard to get a handle on so many spells.

This is getting farther off-topic, but a good goal for DFRPG products is to let GMs make adventures fast by making the crunch easier to use.
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Old 06-18-2019, 03:38 PM   #250
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Giving spellcasters-as-monsters the spells they need to be a viable threat is pretty straightforward.

If you were writing a GURPS book and giving point totals, you might actually care about prerequisites and whether the spells are the "right" sort for that kind of caster.

On a DFRPG adventure, though, just list the top three or four offensive, defensive, and utility spells, and their levels. If these casters are doing villainous, plot-device-ish things when they're not a counter on a battle map, assume they have whatever magic is needed to explain that, which might not even work like spells. There's no need for magic-using villains to be built on points or even fair.
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