Balance in Roleplaying Games

If I had to pick one thing that is most important when dealing with roleplaying games, it is this: Balance.

Balance is everything. Balance is the reason for the system. Additionally, this should be inherent in the system, not something that you add later on. It is not OK because you can change the rules, just like my car is not OK without an engine just because I know how to build an engine. I’m not going to just shrug my shoulders when the dealer hands me an engine-less car.

Every system suffers from this.
D&D: Not all feats are equal.
Able learner (everything is a class skill) is clearly superior to various feats which make 2 or 3 things a class skill.
Menacing Demeanor (+4 intimidate) clearly superior to Skill Focus(Intimidate) (+3 to intimidate).

Warhammer suffers from this.
Flee! gives you +1 movement, for D10 rounds, under special circumstances.
Fleet footed gives you the same, for infinite rounds, any circumstances.

They cost the same. They aren’t worth the same. Sure, fixes can be applied (Lets make it +D10 movement for 1 round. The total is the same, but the advantage is the headstart you get, which is exactly what flee should be).

However all this is doing is building the engine for the car you bought. Do I like to homebrew? Of course! Do I like to customize? Absolutely, but I’m changing my automobile (because I want to) to this:

I’m not fixing it (because I have to) from this:

The Enemy Within

After a long pause we picked up my Warhmammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign which has been running on and off for around a year now. We also welcomed a new player, Nancy to the group who we hope enjoyed the session and will become a regular member.
The game opened with the characters locked in a cell and not remembering much about how they got there. Being the inventive people they are they managed to escape and eventually found out they were being held by their old enemies, The Cult of the Purple Hand. With careful planning and team work they were able to defeat their captors and the re-inforcements sent to take them goodness knows where.
They are now on route to the town of Brokel for a much needed rest before continuing to the magestic city fortress of Middenheim to track down the last remaining member of the Von Wittgenstein family, Gotthard – and hopefully get some answers…

Family Matters on break

My game is done until my writer’s block goes away.

You have 1 year of in game downtime and 20XP to spend.

Everyone gets 1 point in Status Camarilla, and 1 point in resources (not you Neil), 1 point in contacts, and 1 point in haven.

Norman you can have a point in Auspex.
Bashar you can have a point in Majesty.
Neil you can have a point in any martial art skill.
Heidi, you can choose a martial art skill, or put a point in any discipline bar the custom one.

Will write a summary when I get reminded.

Cool story

So, I was reading through some stories on a thread called “great moments in D&D” and came across this little gem.

First of all Wild Mages: Wild Mages basically cast spells more powerfully, but the magic they wield has unpredictable effects sometimes called a “wild magic surge”.

In the coming story, the wild mage is Chaotic Neutral, and is secretly working for the bad guy.

The party were coming up against the big bad of the campaign, a scheming wizard who had taken control of most of the country. Player A, the wild mage was, as befitting a wild mage, chaotic neutral, and befitting a player who had confused chaotic neutral with jerk, he was about to screw the party over.

For the upcoming battle he had informed the big bad of their plans, and had convinced the party that he had a foolproof plan, that he would cast a spell specifically designed by the resistance in the country that would kill the big bad (long story.) Anyway, the betrayal comes in the final battle.

Player A passes note to DM: “I cast invisibility spell on the enemy instead”

Player A: NOW! See what happens to my enemies! (Casts spell)

(Predictably) Wild Surge (DM: *Giggle* Player A: Oh…)

Result: Roll 4 more times, all effects apply (DM: Teehee. Player A: Uh Oh….)

Results: Music plays in background, Target sex changes, All cloth on target turns to dust, Target knocked unconscious. (DM: Muahaha! Player A: Gah!)

Spell Cast! Result: Big Bad now an unconscious naked female. With some romantic music playing in the background.

Party: … this is so wrong …

All credit for this story goes to “Heads_or_Tails” on the Giant in the Playground forums.

Session Summary for June 18th

Well, the meeting was certainly eventful.

As you’ll remember from last session, a very important meeting was taking place, and Sean (Bashar) effectively offered up his services, spotting an opportunity to promote his club as a place for all the top members of the elite in vampire society.

The session started well, security was bumped up, and everything seemed in order, with the exception of Frank (Norman), who decided to sit in the middle of the room staring at the walls.

Unbeknown to anyone else in the room, the reasoning behind this was that from his perspective, the walls were a seething mass of maws, claws and ungodly beasts. From everyone else’s perspective, who still saw the soft velvety walls of this “Gentleman’s Club”, he was a nutjob, confirming their earlier suspicions after gossip spread of his trip to a psychiatrist.

The Prince was in attendance, and sent for a package, which turned out to be the boy, emaciated and drained of much of his blood, which were now being kept in vials.

It turns out the boy is in possession of a power which allows him to pinpoint those with supernatural powers. This not only means he would have the ability to hunt down vampires, but also that he would have the ability to unite others of his kind with various powers against the vampires, and thus the decision was made to end him.

Patrick(Neil) took issue with this, and stood between the boy and what was in effect the entire Camarilla. Diplomatic as ever however, he did keep his swords sheathed.

Eventually, through some quick political maneuvering on the part of Alice (the Toreador Primogen), it was decided that Patrick would be the sole drinker of the boy’s blood. Which he did, though not killing him.

At this point before any more could befall the boy, the walls erupted, with the maws of Frank’s nightmares coming to life and besieging the club, snatching the boy, and escaping.

The only major casualty was Alice, the Primogen, who is now dead.

The werewolves who attacked were somehow all Logan, a single werewolf allied with a spirit called “Dadoti”. A name he originally used as his own.

As far as the Camarilla is concerned, this was a Werewolf attack on a Vampire safehouse.

Next game starts still in the club, directly after the attack.

Games on hold

Thought I’d just give a quick rundown of games that are currently on hold or in progress. Everyone keeps talking about various campaigns, and reboots of old campaigns and whatnot, so I thought I’d put up the list. It is quite ridiculous.

What do people want to do with them?

Neil: Runequest campaign.
Neil: Legend of the 5 Rings campaign (New!)
Heidi: Dragonwraith campaign.
Heidi: My little pony campaign.
Norman: Babylon 5 campaign.
Norman: Warhammer Fantasy campaign.
Norman: Warhammer 40K campaign.
Norman: Judge Dredd campaign (Ongoing).
Norman: Star Trek campaign (New!).
Omar: Pangean Fantasy campaign (Working on a new Epic Level Campaign that follows on from the last).
Omar: Family Matters World of Darkness campaign (Ongoing).
Omar: Planescape campaign (Work in progress).
Omar: The First Gods (Freeform DMing experiment).
Omar: I don’t actually have a campaign idea here, but I want to test out a game system I’m developing. I’m therefore considering doing a shadowrun setting, with the game system I made up. (Magic in, guns with autofire in, cybernetics in, etc).
Bashar: DMing Debut! (Undetermined system/setting, New!).

Personally I’m up for playing any of them. Are there any I’ve missed? I’ve included all the ones *I* know are in planning. Any that you guys are planning that I don’t know about?

Let me know.