Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

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steerpike65
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Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by steerpike65 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:09 pm

I ran my Session Zero and Character Creation for my group last night and had some questions from the experience:
1. Dwarves tool proficiency query - do you consider the list of tool proficiencies a list of the only available ones to pick, and the Erebor Road Wisdom additional one must also be picked from here, or are they examples but heroes can pick from any of the full list (same question for the Erebor dwarves' additional TP)? The dwarf character wanted pipe-smoking, which seemed reasonable so I let him take it instead as his Road Wisdom.
2. Some of the Shadow-weaknesses didn't fit the characters' culture and background so I let them pick their own - any reason why that could be a bad idea? The dwarf fallen scion warrior really wanted the Curse of Vengeance, for example.
3. The player with the Elf Treasure Hunter wants to be an Agent but I noticed a lot of the features along with her Background 'Seeker of the Lost' seems to enforce concepts around physical treasure rather than the information that I think the character is going to be more oriented towards. Any thoughts on how I can help her to find better synergies (I think she's OK with what she has, it's more me that thinks the overall concept could be better)?
4. I still think that I'm struggling with how Hope and Despair might look in play to gain Inspiration, and also how I'm going to remember everyone's traits (I've asked people to make an effort to remind me when they think they've used a trait to gain Inspiration, so hopefully that will help). I'm thinking of doing little index cards up with each hero's traits and pinning them to my DM screen (since I never seem to refer to anything on it anyway :roll: )
5. The Elf Scholar has chosen Doomed to Die as his background. Should I plan an opportunity for his eventual demise in a dramatic sacrifice at the end of the campaign in case he makes it that far, or leave things completely to fate? Similar question for Fallen Scion and Seeker of the Lost - should I give specific opportunities to achieve their goals by the end of the campaign or would you give more player agency and let them drive the agenda? If running Wilderland Adventures, would you facilitate the pursuit of the Background's goals as part of the Fellowship Phase or introduce mini side scenes in the Adventuring Phase, or both?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

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Majestic
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by Majestic » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:40 pm

Hey there, steerpike.

1. I think allowing this one is totally reasonable and fine.

2. As long as it makes story-sense and you keep the entire package together, I think this will still work just fine. The point is to have a progression of degeneration, as the player struggles with the challenge of the Shadow over time.

3. Don't be afraid to tweak any of them, as you feel appropriate. I would have done this as a house rule if necessary, but the rules actually encourage you to do this!

4. Remembering traits during play can indeed be quite tough. I've encouraged my players continually to speak up and point out whenever they feel like they're hitting one of their particular traits that would give them Inspiration. It seems for this game (even moreso than standard 5E) one should be generous with the Inspiration, so I'd encourage your players to speak up and ask for it. One thing I did for The One Ring is to print out a list of my players' Specialties and Distinctive Qualities, to help remind me during play (but in the hustle and bustle of playing, I rarely remember to look at it, to be honest).

5. It's really your call, but I'd just start playing and see if they don't come out in play. I've played through Tales from Wilderland (the TOR version of Wilderland Adventures), and I think they'll have plenty of opportunities to hit those marks on their own.
Adventure Summaries of our campaign, currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood

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steerpike65
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by steerpike65 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:53 am

Thanks for the response, much appreciated.

On the Treasure Hunter/Agent, I was hoping that people out there might have some ideas on better backgrounds than Seeker of the Lost. She has discussed with me a triple layered character - 1) a job as a wandering artist (specialised in silk wall hangings), 2) an adventurer (by chance more than anything but it allows her to go places useful for her third role), and 3) a secret spy for Thranduil across Wilderland. I'm even wondering about creating a new background for her, something linked to elven spies - perhaps a capacity to send messages via birds back to Thranduil, Investigation and Insight as skills, and some traits more oriented towards secret personas and being discovered.

Regarding the traits on the DM screen, I suspect that since I never look at my DM Screen, I'll probably forget to look at the traits there too! :oops: I'm determined to do a better job than my normal D&D games though as it seems from my reading that Inspiration is more important in AiME both from a flavour and a mechanical perspective.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

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zedturtle
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by zedturtle » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:03 am

One of the things that I do as a Loremaster and a player is encourage the players to prompt for Inspiration. For example, as a player in a game the other night, I invoked my Elf's tragic backstory (of his own making) and tied it into his Despair. And then promptly begged for Inspiration. :)

Off-loading some of that onto players is a good idea, and as you mentioned, there's a lot more that you can do with Inspiration, so players should be wanting to ask for it more often.
Jacob Rodgers, occasional nitwit.

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steerpike65
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by steerpike65 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:09 am

Yep, I think that is really the way to go. Yet I fear that some of my players are not very proactive at all and will suffer for it if I leave it all up to them - certainly they never ask for Inspiration in the D&D games we've been playing for the last year or two. Any tips to encourage players to ask for it?
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

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zedturtle
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by zedturtle » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:18 am

Prompting helps, and leading by example also helps. For example, in my face to face group (where I'm Loremaster), I have one player who latched on to the system very early on (his Background is 'Doomed to Die' and he makes it relevant every time the going gets rough). So he often gets Inspiration. Which helps the table remember that it's there to be had, and they can see the benefits of it.

I also try to present having Inspiration as the natural state. In other words, heroes start inspired then make an extraordinary effort to do something (spending Inspiration). They should then be working towards recovering that state, by invoking Traits or other abilities.
Jacob Rodgers, occasional nitwit.

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steerpike65
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by steerpike65 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:28 am

Great ideas. I've two new players starting so hopefully one or both of them will become Inspiration junkies, and can encourage the others. I think I will start every session off for the first few sessions by reminding them about Inspiration, how it can be gained and used. I'm going to also start them off with an Inspiration point for the backstories they're going to give me before the next session (in game, they are inspired by the coming together of the fellowship).
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

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zedturtle
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by zedturtle » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:36 am

Cool. As a reminder, check out 'Starting Inspiration' on page 53 of the Loremaster's Guide — it's perfectly copacetic to have the heroes start with Inspiration at the beginning of the game/adventure/session.
Jacob Rodgers, occasional nitwit.

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steerpike65
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by steerpike65 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:39 am

Yes, that's what Inspired me (excuse the pun!). :lol:
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

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steerpike65
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Re: Questions Following 1st Character Creation Session

Post by steerpike65 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:26 pm

I decided to put together a rough draft of a new background that could work for my Treasure Hunter/Agent player:

EYES OF THRANDUIL

He sent out his spies about the shores of the lake and as far northward towards the Mountain as they would go, and waited.”

You have been suborned by the elven-king Thranduil to spy for him in Wilderland, whether through favours owed, a misdeed to be paid for in service, or by good work and the building of trust in service to the king. Wherever you wander, you seek out information that could be of interest to the elven-king and report back to him. Rumours of war, the growth of an orc enclave, the machinations of the Shadow in the halls of a lord, or the legendary location of pale gems – all this information is of interest to Thranduil.

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Insight

FEATURE: THE BIRDS SING
You have the capacity to communicate with birds loyal to Thranduil, who bring you communications from him and allow you in turn to send messages back to the elven-king. You quickly learn news of happenings in the Woodland Realm and receive orders and information from Thranduil directly.
However, nowhere you go and nothing you do is secret to him – there are spies watching spies and the birds themselves tell him of your whereabouts and actions. Loyalty is paramount and you must watch what you say and what you do at all times.

SUGGESTED CHARACTERISTICS

The Eyes of Thranduil are expert at hiding their true intent, creating a façade to hide behind and allowing them to seem innocent and inconspicuous. They develop the capacity to notice the smallest thing of import and interpret events in terms of how it may affect the Woodland Realm.

D8 DISTINCTIVE QUALITY
1 Patient
2 Suspicious
3 Wary
4 Clever
5 Secretive
6 Keen-eyed
7 Quick of Hearing
8 Fair-spoken

D6 SPECIALITY
1 Beast-Lore
2 Enemy-lore (choose one)
3 Region-lore (choose one)
4 Dark Secrets
5 Trading
6 Smoking

D6 HOPE
1 My work for Thranduil will bring peace to the Woodland Realm.
2 The information I glean could help save those I love from death or worse.
3 The right piece of information could allow Thranduil to regain his lost kingdom and reforge Greenwood the Great.
4 Travelling Wilderland and experiencing different cultures allows me to understand how the Woodland Realm is affected by those around them.
5 My companions support and protection allows me to continue my important work.
6 It is my fate to discover a weakness that will help defeat the Shadow’s plans.

D6 DESPAIR
1 I shall be discovered by the Shadow and slain before I can impart what I have seen and heard.
2 Nothing that I have discovered will have any impact on defeating the Shadow.
3 Thranduil cares nothing for the likes of me, I am merely being used as a pawn in a game.
4 My companions will discover my true work and hate me for betraying them.
5 The elves will all pass into the West and the Shadow will be triumphant.
6 The enemies of the Woodland Realm will discover its secrets and defeat Thranduil.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

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