You can view the page at http://www.loremaster.org/content.ph...led-the-Realms
You can view the page at http://www.loremaster.org/content.ph...led-the-Realms
Freelance Game Designer
Going to reiterate what I already said to Matt on Twitter - this is a pattern I've noticed in RPGA play as a whole; many Greyhawk grognards had the same complaints about LG, and that was before the "4e is MMO" discussion. However, I think this is a function of the player base rather than the system or writing, since it's a trait of both campaigns. My main response is a question from my perspective as one of the LFR writing directors: How do you encourage story interaction in players who are expecting grind (especially those who like story and roleplaying but have come to expect grinding in LFR)?
I can't blame it solely on the players. The early mods and authoring guidelines set the stage for the current play style, as did regions with too few mods and infrequent story links. XP budgets made combat the clear focus. Current LFR is night and day better, but that legacy remains in the player base. The Gen Con Specs beg for RP and ooze story, as did the second MINI. The Epic I playtested was story-rich. LFR is getting better, but will the player base rise with it?
---------- Post added at 01:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:32 PM ----------
Oh, and to create story you need story-focused scenes. Drop that combat and force a decision. Remove skills from a skill challenge and put in situations that must be solved and NPCs with which the PCs must interact/reason/convince (not roll). LG was full of that.
Story awards should matter. Chapters in an ongoing story arc should be able to be played in immediate succession instead of one chapter per tier. "Three combats and a skill challenge" should be abolished. Every skill challenge should have a list of sample role-playing actions that grant automatic successes. Rituals should be castable in combat at the expense of dazing the caster for however many rounds it takes to cast the ritual, which should be based on the normal, PHB casting time (idea stolen from someone else). Skill challenges to disable traps in combat should have their complexities reduced considerably, making trapsmithing a reasonable option. (Admittedly, those last two are criticisms more of the 4e rules.)
Perhaps these issues are being resolved with the changes to LFR. Honestly, I don't know because I don't enjoy playing LFR anymore, so it's hard for me to justify keeping up with the 100-page documents discussing those changes. The only reason I still play -- and I hope Matt joins me in this -- is because public play grows the D&D community. Even though I can't stand playing it, I will continue to do so. I wouldn't have my three home groups (and a couple hundred new friends) if it weren't for public play.
I've kept away from the various organised play events precisely because that's the attitude towards LFR I've seen in a number of places. I certainly wouldn't want to run one.
I'm not as big of a fan of the Realms as Matt is, but in all of the games I play I like the background details. Hell, I said I wasn't going to buy any setting-specific books for 4E, but playing DDO directly led me to buy the Eberron Campaign Guide so I could get some of the lore. But I know that there are a lot of people who game "for teh ph4t lewtz", and I suspect that organised play includes a substantial amount of that crowd.
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In the '90s, my dice maintained their expected statistical spread by rolling high in Star Fleet Battles and low in Car Wars.
Keep in mind that I am not slamming the format, only the venue from which it was deployed. I'm all for some down and dirty tactical wargaming, but I feel the Forgotten Realms are suffering, in part, from it.
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Dramatic? Of course. Is it true, killed? Not really, but LFR suffered from some issues that were just not addressed in a timely fashion. Why have a Living Campaign set in the Forgotten Realms and not really use any of the lore that was FR significant? I know there was a jump of 100 years, but that does not invalidate the previous history. Injecting some of that into the adventures would have helped to "ground" them in the setting. Instead we got places and locations that were simply names. Weekend in the Realms used a "classic" location, "The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar", but instead of having an adventure that included even one piece of lore on the location it was a combat intensive dungeon crawl with just one mention of the location and no information at all. For those that knew about the original adventure by Ed Greenwood the location "might" have been interesting, but for those that had no clue, it stayed completely unknown. The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar where as interesting as "Joe's Basement", which is to say not interesting at all. A small two paragraph synopsis of the location would have done wonders for that adventure. And would have made the adventure relevant to the Forgotten Realms. Imagine having an adventure in the Temple of Elemental Evil, completing the adventure, and not even knowing that you were having an adventure there, or why it was significant that you were there at all. That is the level of disconnect of LFR. Right now I can take almost any LFR adventure, file the serial numbers and nobody would even know that it was set in the Forgotten Realms.
Then there is the "issue" with the formulaic games. How many times can you scramble 2 skill challenges and 2 combats to make them interesting. The templated formula seems to really put a damper on the game. Add to that the Delve Format and you probably have the worst of both worlds.
LFR had something fantastic called DME, a DM was encouraged to modify as needed for fun at the table. The problem was that sometimes what he was given was seriously subpar, and a new DM is not going to have enough experience to necessarily modify effectively. If an adventure is wonderful thank the DM, if an adventure sucks, thank the DM. But it wouldn't hurt if the DM, specially inexperienced ones, were given better guidance on how to improvise to make the game exciting. Every little bit of help given to the DM adds up to a better experience for the players at the table, and there was little given to an inexperienced DM to make the games sing. If a combat is dragging, cut it short. If a combat is not exciting, improvise, but an inexperienced DM really needs help to improvise.
Then there was the issue of Quests. Some pieces of quests were so far removed from each other that nobody ever cared about the quest at all. Completing the quest itself was not a reward. Except for the XP it was very hard to care about them at all. How could they? At times it was dozens of game sessions before the PC would even see anything dealing with the quest. The PC got quest information at level 1, then got the second part of that quest at level 10 and the quest ended at level 11. From level 1-11 the character had no real connection to the quest.
IMO the greatest culprit was a disconnect of the story. I have several Paragon Tier characters and even more Heroic Tier ones. I honestly don't feel any deep connection to any of them or to the Forgotten Realms through them. The "stories" they have participated in have been completely forgettable. Then there are the adventure "story" rewards. I have not found a way that they could be made more generic. I could care less that the Fire Knives are out to get me, that I'm a Knight of Myth Drannor, or any other story award for that matter. This is a direct result of the fact that the story awards do nothing; and I don't mean in a mechanical way. They are "story awards" but have no relevance to any story because there seems to be none. In LG, when I was an Exalted Lord of Tenh, and everybody was one of those, at least I cared about what happened to Tenh.
LFR couldn't have killed the Forgotten Realms because for all intents and purpose it was never set in the Forgotten Realms. The connection between the two is so tenuous as to be non-existent.
they canned the roll of years they time jumped to clean the slate, they even killed the slate
the lfr was doomed from the begining
the FR was and is not a tactical warplaying world, but a Role playing world and a well written adventure modules are likely hard to come by.
I beg to disagree, a tad. What little Forgotten Realms adventures we have seen, have been pretty good. Even many of them in the Living campaign have been quite enjoyable with bits of Realmslore. The campaign did, however, crush much of that in the name of the format. I would have much more preferred a generic Points of Light setting for use in the RPGA.
Nentir vale would have and should have( I REALLY HATE FING WORD, BLAST YOU MICROSOFT) done better....
Opinions are like an arse, every body's got one and they are all two things.......... and the other is they all stink