*Quick Crypt Shyfter update- the game is coming together nicely. It’s going to be another longer one like Limerick or Dreadnaughts, so it’s still a few weeks from being done, but I’m diggin’ the direction it’s going. Won’t say much more now ;)
Me and my buds have started playing D&D again! We’re playing a weekly game on Roll20 since most of us live in different states. It’s been about a year since the whole group played together- usually my best friend and his wife jump in a game with me on random Friday nights, but the last two weeks we’ve had the whole gang (there are 6 of us, 3 dudes and 3 chicks.
We’ve been best friends since high school and we even all moved into a house together for a few years a while back lmao. Good times were had with lots of late night video games and nerf gun wars).
We’re all in or approaching our 30s but it’s fun to see we still enjoy the simple pleasures, like playing cops and robbers with suped up nerf guns or talking about killing dragons on weekends.
So anyway, since we’ve been playing RPGs together for a while now, we all have really defined ideas of what we like and what we don’t like. As a DM this is the best thing ever because I just throw them into a situation I know will be like a powder keg and step back and watch the hilarity unfold.
But what’s really great is that none of us grew up playing tabletop RPGs and by the time we got into it we didn’t care much for gigantic tomes of knowledge stuffed with +1s and THACO and AC and all that nonsense.
Now, when I say we play D&D, I don’t mean it in the sense that we’re playing 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. I’m just referring to “fantasy RPGs” in general. Sitting down at the table (or Roll20), rolling dice, and fighting monsters in caves.
I used to play RPGs with my roommates in college and combat would take HOURS. The games were fun, but it was such a boring slog. We don’t have the patience for that, so we home brew pretty much all the rules.
We started off by playing a mix of D&D 5e and Dungeon World to keep the combat fast, but it was still too slow and confusing. People would forget which abilities gave them +3 or which dice they were rolling for what weapon, and the games became less about killing dragons and more about figuring out what the fuck a proficiency modifier was.
So we kept tweaking and looking for new rules until we finally landed on one that’s perfect for our group. It’s a short little one page game called “Lasers & Feelings” and it couldn’t be simpler. Of course, we still hacked that one pager, and now we’ve got a system that’s perfect for us.
We can get through an entire adventure in about 2 hours with a satisfying ending and lots of laughs, instead of 4-5 hours like when we first started. This is great for a couple reasons- first, it’s fun as hell when the game is moving as fast as a movie or video game. Second, everyone is way more excited to play now knowing we won’t be dicking around with rule books for 30 minutes while someone checks to see what their ability can do.
I have a tiny little post it note with everyone’s stat number and a note for myself. It looks like this:
And that’s it. That’s all I need as the DM to run a game. Anytime someone attempts something that has a chance of failure I say roll your dice. If they’re doing a might check, they gotta roll under their number. If they’re doing a mind check, they roll over. If they roll exactly their number, it’s a critical hit. SUPER SIMPLE.
Granted, this system would be way too simple for most hardcore RPG players. We do have our class abilities listed in the game, which include some of our favorite abilities from other games we’ve played to give ourselves a feeling of progress. Since the raw stats never change, getting new abilities makes it feel like we’re getting stronger, but it doesn’t confuse us with “add +2 against undead and +1 against anything else. If it’s a fire enemy you get -3 unless you’re fighting in the astral vortex, in which case the negative energy negates the flames and causes the fire beast to attack at disadvantage.”
We go much simpler, with perks like “Battle Master: If you roll a 6 on an attack, re-roll it.” Or “Advanced Healer: When you cast heal on an ally, you heal yourself as well.”
It’s also hilarious since we’ve all been making movies together for over a decade, so everyone is awesome at improv and making up ridiculous stories on the spot. This has led to some super fun games, and after finishing our latest session last night I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them.
The heroes just attacked a group of their doppelgängers at a festival in the middle of the city and have now been labeled as terrorists, so they’re in for a rough time. Their justification for attacking the doppelgängers was that “they were getting all the credit for everything we did- and besides, they captured an innocent chimera!”
What it looked like from ANY SANE PERSONS perspective was “here are 5 strangers who came to our town, launched fireballs at our honored guests, set fire to our town as the peasants fled, attacked and murdered the heroes we were celebrating, and then released a chimera from captivity.”
While the chimera was happy, I have a feeling the heroes are going to have a real tough time in the future since they’re now fugitives and outlaws. On the plus side, they did manage to steal the keys to a flying, teleporting castle, so they have a base now.
I think it’s time for an evil character to make them an offer, since they’re doing such a bang up job of being heroes....