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Hot Springs Island
Tiamat Offline
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Hot Springs Island
So, I've been thinking about Arik’s vent. I've also been thinking that I have some time in my schedule that I could play games but that I am not able to fill. To deal with these issues, I am currently contemplating to run an online, open table, West marches-style game. I am suggesting a game that:
  • Has no regular time and is scheduled on short notice and on the fly. I’m thinking occasional evenings from 20.30-23.00.
  • Is open table and has no regular party: each game has different players drawn from a pool of interested people. The game should have a very low threshold for participation. Preferably with simple characters and system.
  • Is player driven and has no big overarching plot. This is because the short notice and open table require an accessible game with limited prep. “Hot Springs Island” aims to be a powder keg for PCs to mess with. I hope that this powder keg can be lighted with player wits and help us generate fun sessions.

For those interested about the setting, I've put the field guide on dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tdxaoookphjyta...island.pdf

I've put it behind a password: Voh's first name

I hope there is some interest for this. I do have other thoughts about the type of game I would like to run that I will post below. Many of which are open to discussion.
(This post was last modified: 20-04-2020 12:11:01 by Tiamat.)
20-04-2020 12:09:34
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JLT* Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
Nice. I'd play.

"I think I'll have seconds.."

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20-04-2020 22:07:09
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SageGenesis Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
Interested in hearing more.

What you need to understand about the apocalypse is that you aren't Mad Max. You're part of the skull pyramid in the background.
21-04-2020 07:18:26
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
(21-04-2020 07:18:26)SageGenesis Wrote:  Interested in hearing more.


First, it's an experiment. I don't know where it would actually work but it tries to generate gaming time under to current Corona restrictions. I believe it could turn out to be lots of fun.

As to the setting, it’s a published setting/adventure that has received some rewards. You may have already heard of it.

Is it great? Well, after reading countless “good” adventures, published adventures almost never are. Hot Springs Island is good insofar published adventures go—I don’t care for all the elements but I can probably work with them. I believe published adventures are never truly great because the quality of an RPG is not in the setting, system, or adventure but in the interaction between players (including the DM). This adventure is good insofar it’s reasonable, open, and doesn’t get in the way of that interaction.

That gets us to the system. There are only two systems in which I would be able to run this game: a 5e or Shadow of the Demon Lord. Neither would work without some house rules. I am still much, much more proficient in 5e and really like DnD’s core d20 mechanic.

Some of my (system) preferences are (all up for debate):

*Small hero starts, where characters rely on their wits and the environment.
*A limited power differentiation between low and higher level characters.
*Low or no magic (unless unlocked through play)
*meaningful equipment

Must run now but I’d be happy to brainstorm this sometime with you, Sage.
21-04-2020 11:03:56
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SageGenesis Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
I have heard of Hot Springs Island, but only in the sense that it exists. I know nothing substantial about it. Which is good, because I do plan to try this.

Any thoughts on how the actual logistics of this will look? Would we use an online virtual tabletop or just a Discord chat or something?

What you need to understand about the apocalypse is that you aren't Mad Max. You're part of the skull pyramid in the background.
21-04-2020 12:44:32
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
One of the goals is low threshold for players to join so that rules out a virtual tabletop. I've used tabletop simulator as a virtual tabletop and it works quite well but I have found that I don't actually need it most of the time. We've been playing online without virtual tabletop for months now.

I'd like to be able to see player's faces so a video call system IS important. I do like discord for that and it has the added benefit that we would have a dice roller in a corresponding chat room. I am also happy to let people throw their own dice. So, alternatively, I have access to an online lecture room that can be accessed with a simple link and sign up that also works quite well for this. Google hangouts is also a possibility.
21-04-2020 14:33:01
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
The more I think about it, the less appealing 5e becomes for this type of campaign. I'd probably go with Shadow of the Demon Lord.
21-04-2020 15:30:20
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SageGenesis Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
That lines up with my own preferences, so long as we don't get hit with the your-genitals-rot-off deathcurses left and right. Tongue

For real though. It's a good game but I could do with slightly less "onderbroekenhorror".

I'm not sure how well either game would handle no-magic groups though. Healing is an issue which presumes reliable access to a Cleric-type. (In 5e especially. Many conditions can flat-out not be removed without a Restoration type spell.)

If healers are rare, both through setting and unreliable party composition, I'd propose accelerating natural healing. Maybe once per day you can do a short rest for an hour (ie. lunch) which heals up to your healing rate, and the full night's rest heals double? I have no experience with low-magic SotDL.

What you need to understand about the apocalypse is that you aren't Mad Max. You're part of the skull pyramid in the background.
21-04-2020 15:47:53
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
(21-04-2020 15:47:53)SageGenesis Wrote:  That lines up with my own preferences, so long as we don't get hit with the your-genitals-rot-off deathcurses left and right. Tongue

For real though. It's a good game but I could do with slightly less "onderbroekenhorror".

I'm not sure how well either game would handle no-magic groups though. Healing is an issue which presumes reliable access to a Cleric-type. (In 5e especially. Many conditions can flat-out not be removed without a Restoration type spell.)

If healers are rare, both through setting and unreliable party composition, I'd propose accelerating natural healing. Maybe once per day you can do a short rest for an hour (ie. lunch) which heals up to your healing rate, and the full night's rest heals double? I have no experience with low-magic SotDL.

Not a great fan of "mature" themes myself. For some reason it's a bit too common in non-mainstream systems and adventures.

We've done SotDL with very little healing in Jelte's game. Especially during our level 0 starting adventure. Open, last-minute, games are unlikely to result in balanced parties anyway.

Moreover, I don't see hit points as meat points so I have no problem with "non-magical" healing. I may just reskin cleric spells as non-magical. I have to look at the details.

As an aside, I actually don't think 5e needs magical healing per se. Restoration can be an issue in specific cases but the DM can easily work around these cases.
21-04-2020 16:13:46
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JLT* Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Hot Springs Island
So tonight then?

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22-04-2020 13:04:50
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
(22-04-2020 13:04:50)JLT* Wrote:  So tonight then?

GHehe. I have to go over the adventure at least once. But get together a couple of players and tomorrow night might be a possibility. Tongue
22-04-2020 14:24:35
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
Discord chatrooms can now have video so we can video call and use a dice and music bot at the same time. So as long as the traffic isn't too high, discord is now my first choice.
23-04-2020 13:38:04
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
As far as race and class restrictions go, I'm undecided. I think I may just open everything up—especially if someone has strong preferences. I have a preference for low magic and predominantly human but I also realize that I have no strong preferences on the matter. If we start at level 0, magic would not be available immediately anyway.

Reason for getting to the Island could be the Martel Company as it pays off bounties in exchange for service to their organization. In other words, it buys convicts and contract workers and sets them to work. Alternatively, characters can be part of Rand's adventurer's guild. The Martel Company is a major and powerful trading company. The company leaves the islands under the jurisdiction of Jeremy Rand, but they pass through frequently to resupply at Swordfish Bay. They pay handsomely for any new trade goods identified on the islands. They also pay for the safe recovery of cargo (and maybe crew) that has wrecked in the islands. Their agents are interested in acquiring specific relics and artifacts from the island.

Jeremy Rand is an ex-pirate who was given “control” of the Swordfish Islands by the Martel Company as part of a deal between him and the group. Rand and his crew have established the only thing resembling a port here (Swordfish Bay), and they founded an adventurers guild to floss all the riches out of the island that they can. Adventurers in the islands are assumed to be part of Rand’s guild. The Field Guide to Hot Springs Island is compiled and written by Rand’s guild.
23-04-2020 19:31:17
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SageGenesis Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Hot Springs Island
What is your stance on supplements? I have a fair number of SotDL supplement books. I don't actually have anything specific in mind, but I'd like to know whether I should even crack those open or not.

I think I'd have a slight preference for Rand's guild. I'd be more motivated to look for riches in the Jungle of Certain Doom™ if I felt I got to keep some of it at the end of the day, instead of handing it over to my overseer.

What you need to understand about the apocalypse is that you aren't Mad Max. You're part of the skull pyramid in the background.
23-04-2020 21:22:10
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
There's a lot of, dare I say, very specifically flavored stuff in the supplements that I am also completely unfamiliar with. When I Dm I have a preference for lower fantasy PCs. I like humans; can deal with elves, Dwarves,* orcs and goblins; and have difficulty with changelings and clockworks.

That said, I do realize characters are more important to players than the DM so I try to be open minded—even if my first instinctive response is negative. Usually that implies that I will probably have to warm up to some of those things to see it through the eyes of the player. So if you want to take out those supplements and find something cool, go ahead. Just sell it to me and give me a moment to adjust. Wink

*why do I capitalize Dwarves?
(This post was last modified: 23-04-2020 22:08:17 by Tiamat.)
23-04-2020 22:00:54
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
As to the setting beyond the Island, I'm thinking of integrating the new with last summer's setting. This is a different part of the world but using the same colonial powers allows for a more familiar and organic background for two out of two interested players. Cool

Note that the Martel Company has a clear monopoly in this area but this info may help your backgrounds.


Anglia
Anglia got a late start in the colonial game, but they are quickly making up for lost time. The Explorer’s Society is based in Anglia, and Queen Elaine’s government has used their expertise to uncover prime resources. They focus attention on farming and spices, eschewing gold or other precious metals (which the Castillians have largely claimed for themselves). Most Anglian colonies are peaceful as well as self-sufficient; they maintain good relations with local tribe and have fierce loyalty to Queen Elaine. Because Anglia has only a small formal navy in these lands, the colonies use privateers or mercenaries for protection. Many Anglian “pirates” in the Archipelago perform double duty as a colonial navy, and several Sea Dog ships frequent the waters at any given time.

Castille
The vast majority of Eurean colonies in the Archipelago owe allegiance to Castille. Gold, spices, and other resources add considerable wealth to Good King Sandoval’s coffers, and increase that nation’s clout in world affairs. Some Castillian colonies have been around for nearly a century, and entire generations have grown up without ever seeing the country to which they claim allegiance. Because of the colonies’ importance to Castille’s economy, the government keeps a close eye on them. To this end, ships from the Castillian Armada are a common sight in Archipelago waters. Indeed, it was the need to protect Castille’s colonies that made the Armada so large in the first place. With the end of the Castille-Montaigne war, naval presence has increased significantly.

Every Castillian colony in the Archipelago has at least one Vaticine church, and the Pontiff has stationed several dozen missionaries here on a permanent basis. They actively seek to convert Elves and Dwarves, which mars the relations between the Castillians and these races. The occasional Castillian quest to rob the magical treasures of the elves doesn’t help either

Pirates
The Archipelago has become a paradise for the wolves of the sea. Artifacts, gold, spices, and countless other treasures must travel by ship to reach Eurea—and there’s a lot of ocean between there and here. The multitude of uncharted islands make for excellent hiding places, and raiders can bury their ill-got gains in places where no interloper could ever hope to find them. Increased trading routes between the island and the mainland have seen a subsequent increase in pirate activities. The Archipelago now hosts entire areas, such as the infamous Strahd of Blood, catering solely to pirate crew

Most pirates in the Archipelago operate as lone ships, or small flotillas of three of four vessels. Larger compliments tend to draw attention, and make escape more difficult for crews involved. The Castillian Armada maintains a strong presence in the Archipelago largely dedicated to hunting such buccaneers down. The faster and leaner a pirate ship, the better it avoids foes. By far the most infamous pirate in the Archipelago you’ll find Captain Strahd and his crew, the Crimson. But others have made quite a name for themselves… and with the Archipelago continuing to produce so much wealth, none of them look to disappear any time soon.
(This post was last modified: 24-04-2020 10:46:08 by Tiamat.)
24-04-2020 10:44:28
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SageGenesis Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Hot Springs Island
Captain Strahd! Love it.

Speaking of which, are Castilians still you-know-what?

What you need to understand about the apocalypse is that you aren't Mad Max. You're part of the skull pyramid in the background.
24-04-2020 12:54:18
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
(24-04-2020 12:54:18)SageGenesis Wrote:  Captain Strahd! Love it.

Speaking of which, are Castilians still you-know-what?

There's some rumors but nothing substantiated. Cool
24-04-2020 12:56:40
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JLT* Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
I could go for a horrible dwarf build again.

"I think I'll have seconds.."

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24-04-2020 15:36:53
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
Haughty elf grave robber; horrible dwarf; Shakespearean understudy. Everything is possible.

I've now gone over most of the adventure btw.
24-04-2020 16:24:09
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(me) Melchior Offline
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Post: #21
RE: Hot Springs Island
Whoa the peppers are desired by all factions! The only thing that is! Those things are peperduur!

Licensed.
(This post was last modified: 24-04-2020 22:37:41 by (me) Melchior.)
24-04-2020 22:35:57
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JLT* Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
Yes! And we didn't eat all of them! We even have 1 left!

(24-04-2020 16:24:09)Tiamat Wrote:  Haughty elf grave robber; horrible dwarf; Shakespearean understudy. Everything is possible.
A few hours ago there were endless possibilities. Now, there's Joe Cook the commoner.

"I think I'll have seconds.."

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(This post was last modified: 24-04-2020 22:40:19 by JLT*.)
24-04-2020 22:39:14
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
(24-04-2020 22:39:14)JLT* Wrote:  Yes! And we didn't eat all of them! We even have 1 left!

(24-04-2020 16:24:09)Tiamat Wrote:  Haughty elf grave robber; horrible dwarf; Shakespearean understudy. Everything is possible.
A few hours ago there were endless possibilities. Now, there's Joe Cook the commoner.

Getting soft; I should have let you eat all of them. Wink

The bigger the zero the bigger the hero. Another upside is that Joe Dohn won't be missed.
25-04-2020 08:46:54
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Tiamat Offline
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RE: Hot Springs Island
I don't know what the best forum for this game is. I guess we could make an app group.
25-04-2020 15:28:30
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