Getting PBP notifications

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission.

As I wrote earlier, this is my first full weekend of PBP (Play by Post) and Spacemaster. The game I am playing is being played out via the rpol.net. One of the weaknesses of the system or so it seems so far is the lack of notifications. You can enable email alerts up to every 15 minutes, but that took a couple of false starts to get going, the conf email went straight to junk and then it insisted on sending alerts for every single forum on the site and then I eventually tamed to to only show alerts from the game I am in. It is not the most intuitive interface I have ever come across.

Since setting up the alerts I have had one email about two hours ago and then nothing so that doesn’t seem that promising.

Rpol does offer RDF, RSS and atom feeds. I thought maybe I could add the feed to feedly and then have that notify me whenever there was an update but yes technically that works but you have to manually make it go and refresh the feed. I am after something to tell me as soon as GM Joe updates my game thread. Every 15 minutes doesn’t sound very long but there is only a limited window when we are both awake at the same time. I would kind of like to make the most of that time but also not be having to hit F5 refresh every two minutes to see if the game has moved on.

If I find a solution to this then I post an update.

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Getting back into Spacemaster

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission.

This weekend is the first time I have ‘played’ Spacemaster in probably 25 years and it is the first time I have ever done any play by post (pbp).

As you can probably guess I am playing Spacemaster by post. I am not going to give any game details away as this is not my game and the GM really doesn’t want any meta gaming and I respect that.

I have tried remote gaming in the past and never really felt that happy with it. It isn’t the same as all being there together with the banter and reminiscing over past successes, failures and moments of pure stupidity. I am actually quite looking forward to this. It is a new game, with very different character creation rules than I am used to, in a new setting, using a new gaming format and with a new GM I have never met and don’t even know the name of.

I ‘met’ the GM on the iron crown forums when a discussion turned to online roleplaying and he invited me to join this new game.  In my day ‘play by post’ meant stamped letters arriving once or twice a week if you were lucky but of course now it means forum posts and these take seconds. I am massively out of timezone with the GM (It sounds really imporsonal calling him ‘the GM’ so from now on he will be GM Joe as that is his nom de plume on the game forums).

I am kind of glad in a way that I am 7 or 8 hours out of step as I imagine this could get really addictive really quickly. The game started in ernest this weekend and I was posting last thing at night and then it was one of the first things I was checking in the morning. If I was in the same timezone as GM Joe I could see this spiralling to tens of posts a day. Right now I am all alone, not having met the other characters so it is very much one on one solo play.

I have to say that my first impressions are very positive and it is quite fun being a coomplete noobie again!

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Little Miss Defensive and her profession

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I have been looking at suitable professions for an NPC I am working on. I want her to be potentially useful to the party but at the same time I don’t want her solving all the problems instead of them.

She is particularly non agressive in combat with all of her skills in that department being dedicated to parrying and avoiding being hit.

I had always intended that shw was going to be some sort of spell user and I quite liked the idea of her being some sort of astrologer/seer/mystic with a monk as an alternative if the other three didn’t work out. I am looking at those classes mainly because I kind of like the idea of someone who has such insight into the future and the fates of the characters but then cannot actually communicate except via one person whom she is tied to.

Looking at the spell lists available, all of the classes above have access to spells like blue, shield and blade turning and that satisfies my need for a really strong defence and all of them have some kind of self healing, body renewal lists. That was something else I wanted. I want the PC to whom she is linked to have no good reason to leave her at home. IF she can protect herself, heal herself (and him potentially) and be useful in other ways as well then more the merrier!

Two of my favourite spell lists are gate mastery (or equivelant) and rune mastery. In this case I do not think that gate mastery woudl suit her but I could imagine her with elegant carved ivory scroll cases and scrolls written in beautiful eastern style caligraphy. I would happily give her a brush and a pot of ink for creating these. So right now I am leaning towards the mystic or the back up monk character. I am not really taken that much with the idea of the monk, it doesn’t quite have the other worldlyness of the pure and hybrid spell user professions.

Surprisingly, I had never noticed quite how aggressive mystics were! I would certainly consider playing one as a PC and there is nothing wrong from what I can see with the spell lists. It looks like she will be able to do everything I am looking for in this NPC.

Next up I am looking at the seer profession. We are talking pure mentalist here. We get the healing and attack avoidance spell lists, some excelent future prediction and interrogation spell lists. What we don’t get is the rune mastery but I can live without that. This profession is also ticking all the boxes so far. The party are not really going to be looking to their seer to bail them out if things go horribly wrong for them.

The astrologer, looking at the available spell lists encompassing Channelling and Mentalism is interesting. Of the three this has the strongest healing spells taken from the closed channeling lists, good future prediction lists and the attack avoidance spells. Looking at it though the channelling realm is only contributing to the healing everything else is being provided by the realm of mentalism. I am not at this time overly taken with the astrologer.

I suspect that I will end up generating at least three first level characters and seeing which one ticks the most boxes when the pencil hits the paper.

I will start creating characters this week and will share the character sheets once they are done.

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How many hands?

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I have a party of adventurers clearing out an underground complex. Most of the fighting has been sword on sword against intelligent foes. In the first session of the new game we only had three PCs and no NPCs. There will be another regular player who could not make the first session so we have four PCs. I want to introduce an NPC to the party.

As a GM I am not a huge fan of NPCs in the party. I don’t do accents so they can become a bit bland and I have seen NPCs save the entire party when they got themselves stupidly slaughtered (I was one of the party in most instances of this) and it begs the question of why didn’t the NPCs just do the job without the party in the first place.

I also dislike the NPC healer as that just encourages either the GM to fix things when they get broken or for the party to be completely wrecklous in their battles. Why not the NPC will sort out the mess.

I don’t like NPCs who end up as mouthpiece of the GM proding the party in the right direction when they get stuck or coming up with the right solution just as the party are about to get themselves killed.

You can gather I am really not a fan of NPCs but this time I think the party needs one. The great thing is that the main healer is one of the party and of the three party members so far all three potentially have access to healing magic to a lesser or greater degree. Theymay not know the spell lists yet but it is always there as an option.

As I have a new PC entering the story I am temped to give him a twin sister. This one is slightly damaged and knows no other languages than a ‘twin’ language that only she and her bother know. That gets me off the hook with the NPC being asked to come up with ideas and I have been know to even forget there is an NPC in the party for hours at a time so if she is effectively mute then so much the better.

So I have been toying with this idea of the hardly ever speaking twin sister of one of the heroes. I have a few ideas for her and as I have been bringing them together then quite an interesting character is emerging. So why would a hero take his slightly damaged twin sister out on monster filled adventures? Because they fight really well together is my answer. So I have to make her really useful to have around in a fight but I don’t want her to be killing everything and making the party redundant. So how about makingher defensively really strong? There are some nice parrying weapons in Arms Law like the Shang, a parrying scimitar.  When not used to attack it gives +30DB. So a Shang in one hand, a small shield in the other, a bit of a quickness bonus and you have a DB of nearly 60. Not that impressive. Now I noticed in Arms Law that there are descriptions of how many attacks a person can do in one round depending on what weapon and shield combinations they have. The most extreme is probably the single handed weapon, thrown weapon and shield. The idea is that the attacker can swap their weapn into the shield hand momenarily, throw a knife and the get back into position to defend with the shield. There are minuses on both attacks (-20 on the single handed attack and -20% on the thrown attack).

We are probably all falimiar with seeing Broadsword (LH) as a skill as the player is learning the weapon as part of a two weapon combo. Why could I not learn Martial Arts (strikes) rank#1 (kicks only). So this character is going for the kick boxer look. I wouldn’t have a problem with that if a player came to me with it.

Going back to Little Miss Defensive (LMD) and now we have a Shang in one hand, a small shield in the other and martial arts. (in our gaming circles we call skill ranks ‘boxes’ after the record sheet so that is what I am going to use here.  So lets give LMD one box in martial arts kicks at adolescence and another at appenticeship and a +15 stat bonus. That doesn’t seem too excessive. Total OB +25. She can parry with that, not attack with her Shang giving another +30DB, her small shield gives another +15DB and lets give her a reasonable Quickness and now we are looking at a total DB of maybe -90. that is a fairly hefty DB for a 1st level character. I would give her at least one box in using the Shang but the total development cost is one box a level in martial arts and a one off purchase of a box in shang. She is not going to attack with the Shang so I don’t feel the need to buy two weapon combo. I am not buying any armour skills so the total cost is pretty small and I have not really reduced my choices in character profession either.

roundhouseSo so far I have LMD who parries away like mad tying up the foe while her brother does the killing. That works. There is one particularly cinematic shot that I love and that is the martial artist with their leg elevated in a poised round house kick slowly uncoiling and standing at ease if you know what I mean.

I have not go so far as to rolling any dice yet or developing LMD any further yet but if any other GMs read this would you allow a character to use a parrying wealong, a shield and attack with a kick all in the same round?

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Why?

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission.

There has been a bit of a discussion on the ICE forums recently about blogging, official blogs, fan blogs and the pros and cons of blogs over static sites such as the Guild Companion.

You can read it all in full here in the original blogging thread.

As a result of this I thought why not set up a blog and see if there was a genuine appetite for the content. I am also open to allowing other Rolemaster fans to guest post here or become regular contributors.

First and foremost though I will be blogging about issues and thoughts that come up via my own gaming.

Regarding the image at the top of the pages. This is the property of Aurigas Aldbaron LLC and used with their kind permission.

Copyright; 2002-2014 by Aurigas Aldbaron LLC. All rights reserved. No reproductions without permission. 

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