Q&A with Frank

Quest for the lost city of Empyrea in Frank Mentzer's Aquaria Setting.
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Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:30 pm

This place is too darn quiet. ;>

Q&A on Aquaria, Empyrea, Immortals, and related topics are welcome here and will be promptly answered in this thread.

DF doesn't own me. :lol:

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by night_druid » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:33 pm

Heh, I just wish I knew enough about Aquaria to know what questions to ask! :)
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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Dave L » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:43 pm

Thanks for the heads up, Frank.

I must admit, I wasn't sure how much time you would be able to spend over here.

Now you've opened the flood gates, expect to be innundated. :)

For starters, could you clarify something I picked up from DF? I got the impression you were planning on making an announcement about your new publishing venture before the end of the summer - is that correct?

Also, an Aquaria question. I understand you run an over the table and a high level pbp internet game as well? I'm not even going to ask to join the pbp game - you must have a waiting list a mile long :), but do you have any plans to release the game logs, or will that wait until the Campaign is published? I wonder if small "teaser" excerpts might work as a good marketing tool once you have your publishing schedule firmed out.

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:06 pm

Dave L wrote:could you clarify something I picked up from DF? I got the impression you were planning on making an announcement about your new publishing venture before the end of the summer - is that correct?
Sorry, not. It'll happen when it happens. Now, in this post-GenCon period I'm rather, um, Active... trying to line up the ducks and make big plans. But as I've said repeatedly, no product for a while; lots of foundation to build first.
you run an over the table and a high level pbp internet game as well? I'm not even going to ask to join the pbp game - you must have a waiting list a mile long :), but do you have any plans to release the game logs, or will that wait until the Campaign is published? I wonder if small "teaser" excerpts might work as a good marketing tool once you have your publishing schedule firmed out.
I do plan on releasing logs of my online chatroom game, prolly free, prolly in zips, here and/or at DF. However, they have to be cleaned up first, and appropriate (c) notices added and all that, and I should get the permission of the players first. That will take intensive time and work and there are more than 800 logs, each 2+ hrs. ::audio=boulder landing on head:: A lot of volunteer work will very prolly be necessary.

To be blunt, online chatroom gaming goes slowly. Those logs do contain quite a bit that needs to be cleaned out. And the level of play is often mediocre (I would've leaned into the project much quicker if it had been outstanding)... but so it goes. We started that game in Spring 1992 and it's still ongoing. The logs will doubtless contain myriad insider tidbits about the campaign... but it's all based on my own writings and notes, all of which are in the filing cabinet right here beside me.

Logs of the Live game (held in north central USA, Chicago 'burbs) are already available Here at Dragonsfoot Campaign Journals. They're written by Scribes (players), and we only play every 2 weeks (and sometimes cancel), 'cause all the participants are adults with serious jobs and serious family commitments.
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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Dave L » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:22 pm

ExTSR wrote: Logs of the Live game (held in north central USA, Chicago 'burbs) are already available Here at Dragonsfoot Campaign Journals. They're written by Scribes (players), and we only play every 2 weeks (and sometimes cancel), 'cause all the participants are adults with serious jobs and serious family commitments.
Thanks for that - looks like I've got some reading to do. :)

I was also interested by this bit in your player notes:
Spellcasters shall not affect other characters without their assent or knowledge, explicit or implicit as called for by the situation. So if you try dumping a Charm at that crabby party member, he automatically saves.

Thieves do not steal from their own party, NOR from party treasure. They are not, however, subject to arbitrary rules laid down by other party members (especially Paladins).
There was some interesting discussion over at DF, I think in the 2e forum, when a DM reported one of his PC's charmed quite a few of the party, and bagged most of the good loot as a result. After the charm wore off the players just shrugged their shoulders and carried on. Much discussion then followed. :D

A rule like this would have solved that problem before it cropped up - do you use this as a house rule in all your games?

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:34 pm

Dave L wrote:A rule like this would have solved that problem before it cropped up - do you use this as a house rule in all your games?
Generally -- unless the players want it otherwise. I'm a big advocate of group discussion & approval (vs DM fiat).

The Thief rule is a no-brainer to me. Your average NPC thief doesn't get invited adventuring and has to grunge around town to make ends meet... they're the gutter thieves, or townies, if you will.

But if they can cut it (assumed for PC thieves), they take a quantum leap toward the Big Bucks. So why the heck would a thief PC risk getting tossed out of an adventuring party and go back to the slums? -- which is exactly what SHOULD happen to one who steals from the guys who are usually watching his back.

In play, that means that PC is Retired and doesn't get another chance (no matter how much the player cries about it). And note that pilfering from treasures 'soon to be acquired' (e.g. advance scouting by said thief, or even just wandering nearby separated from the party) IS stealing from the party (skip the legalistic rationalization; won't fly imc) and doom cometh.

Don't kill 'em, toss 'em. That nonsense will stop right away.
As with the above houserule, this is subject to group preference... but I invoke all my 34 years of DMing on this one and recommend against intraparty theft in the strongest possible terms.

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Havard » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:38 am

Thanks for setting up this thread here Frank! :)

1) Did you have a good time at Gen Con this year?

2) How long have you been running the Aquaria campaign?

3) Does Aquaria have any unique races or anything like that?

4) How powerful/advanced Tek have been witnessed in the campaign so far?

5) I heard that you were planning on separating the setting from Greyhawk when it gets published. Will that have any special impact on Aquaria?

More later :)

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:55 am

Havard wrote:Thanks for setting up this thread here Frank!
No prob. Tho you might want to Pin it.
  • 1) Did you have a good time at Gen Con this year?
    2) How long have you been running the Aquaria campaign?
    3) Does Aquaria have any unique races or anything like that?
    4) How powerful/advanced Tek have been witnessed in the campaign so far?
    5) I heard that you were planning on separating the setting from Greyhawk when it gets published. Will that have any special impact on Aquaria?
Isn't this supposta be multiple choice? Oh, well...

1. Best ever, in many ways. We had a rockin' good time at the Auction (where I've been since 1984, excepting 1986-87 when the PoG banned me from the stage). I will clarify about the auction, as most folks don't know: YOU bring your games to GenCon for us to recycle, we sell 'em, and you get the money in time to go buy new stuff. I don't actually run the auction, tho I used to. Now I get to laze around a lot and occasionally yak at the audience. ;> Appeared at the Hickman Killer Breakfast, ran about 3 hrs at the Tower of Gygax, and did a bit of media (including a podcast for RFI; I'll post a link when they finish editing).

2. Aquaria began officially some time in the summer of 1976, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, North America, Aerth. I had played & DM'd since 1975, but didn't start building a real Campaign until that winter ('75-'76). I have run it in 4 venues to date: the Philly years (until Dec 1979), the Lake Geneva game (Spring 1980 to Autumn 1986, featuring various TSR authors, artists, and editors as players), Online @ AOL (May 1992 to present, but they're almost finished), and Live again in the greater Chicago area (April 2009 to present). I really doubt that I'll start it again; it's time to write it all down while the 4th Age ;> continues.

3. Well sure. The 'blimpies' (you can't pronounce their real name) are elemental air-beings who look similar to clouds, but are sentient and can be paid for services. Their specialty is Telekinesis as per the spell (q.v.). Since they accelerate steadily they can reach Mach1 fairly quickly (and they keep accelerating from there of course), and are really ideal for transcontinental aerial transport. Such things can change civilizations, and that is why I mention them first.

Then there are the Sef. Formidible, prolly unshakeable. Ruled by an absolute monarch, the "Sea Mother" -- who may in fact be the progenitrix of the race and tens of thousands of years old -- these giant squid control the seas. Their numbers are vast. They communicate as do other squid, with flashing lights down the sides of their bodies, and thus require humanoid intermediaries to translate for them. Some are of extremely high INT, others less so. There are many mysteries involving the Sef, including their 'recording device' (the "ChiRec") now in widespread use amongst all land nations (especially in legal matters), obvious skill at bioengineering (down under; let that wait for later, tho), yet their utter loathing of technology (so how do they DO all that?).

Many other less notable creatures will be found by the gentle reader, in time. And of course there are also new magicks, both spells and items, and lots more new things.

4. Being pro-Tek is being anti-God, so of course no real Tek developments occur. Well, there ARE heretics here and there... and details would give away too many secrets (one whole high-level module, in fact). However, I CAN say that in certain mountain ranges 'dumpsites' have been found, in fact jettison grounds for incoming space vessels (don't spend fuel on landing your trash, jettison you fool). The vessels shouldn't be there in the first place and would be vaporized if they got caught... smugglers, obviously. And in such dumps one may find occasional partial or even whole Objects of interesting (and tabu) nature. (Turn that .45 over to the church for destruction? If you use it for Good it could penetrate a demon's MR/AM due to its tek nature! Aargh! Ethical quandaries abound in Aquaria.)

5. The purging of trademarks, and avoidance of copyrighted materials, will of course be a careful process. I have no desire to tangle with the owners of the marks. If we come to some Agreement before I release, well and good; if not, the few words can be easily expunged without damaging the fabric of the campaign.


How's that? Do I pass? :P

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Azaghal » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:52 am

ExTsr wrote:The Thief rule is a no-brainer to me. Your average NPC thief doesn't get invited adventuring and has to grunge around town to make ends meet... they're the gutter thieves, or townies, if you will.

But if they can cut it (assumed for PC thieves), they take a quantum leap toward the Big Bucks. So why the heck would a thief PC risk getting tossed out of an adventuring party and go back to the slums? -- which is exactly what SHOULD happen to one who steals from the guys who are usually watching his back.

In play, that means that PC is Retired and doesn't get another chance (no matter how much the player cries about it). And note that pilfering from treasures 'soon to be acquired' (e.g. advance scouting by said thief, or even just wandering nearby separated from the party) IS stealing from the party (skip the legalistic rationalization; won't fly imc) and doom cometh.

Don't kill 'em, toss 'em. That nonsense will stop right away.
As with the above houserule, this is subject to group preference... but I invoke all my 34 years of DMing on this one and recommend against intraparty theft in the strongest possible terms.

F
I love that idea and intend to use it as law in my games.
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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by cab » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:58 am

Hi Frank!

Have you had a look through the assorted 'retro-clone' games? Is it your plan to release material that will be mostly in support of one or more of those, or are you looking to publish something more systemless? Or are you instead aiming to do something else OGL related?

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Dave L » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:16 am

ExTSR wrote:How's that? Do I pass? :P

F
Well, I think you pass Havard'sfirst group, but you just know he's got a whole lot more lined up. :)

The "blimpies" sound a real campaign changer.
Are they paid in cash or items?

Some uses I see for them:
Civilian long range air transport (obviously)
Military airdrops or covert insertions
If there's a way of mass printing leaflets - propoganda drops
Short range recon over the battlefield
An absolute boon for map makers
Possible use for tracking weather patterns?

That's off the top of my head, I'm sure there will be more.

The Sef - I'm not into Cthulhuoid stuff, but I can imagine a couple of guys salivating over possible links. :)

A .45 toting demon hunting renegade hero - anyone else have a Jon Shannow character in mind? :cool:

Thanks for the teasers Frank!

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Blacky the Blackball » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:45 am

ExTSR wrote:The Thief rule is a no-brainer to me. Your average NPC thief doesn't get invited adventuring and has to grunge around town to make ends meet... they're the gutter thieves, or townies, if you will.

But if they can cut it (assumed for PC thieves), they take a quantum leap toward the Big Bucks. So why the heck would a thief PC risk getting tossed out of an adventuring party and go back to the slums? -- which is exactly what SHOULD happen to one who steals from the guys who are usually watching his back.

In play, that means that PC is Retired and doesn't get another chance (no matter how much the player cries about it). And note that pilfering from treasures 'soon to be acquired' (e.g. advance scouting by said thief, or even just wandering nearby separated from the party) IS stealing from the party (skip the legalistic rationalization; won't fly imc) and doom cometh.

Don't kill 'em, toss 'em. That nonsense will stop right away.
As with the above houserule, this is subject to group preference... but I invoke all my 34 years of DMing on this one and recommend against intraparty theft in the strongest possible terms.

F
That all makes perfect sense as an in character rule that the party might have - anyone caught stealing will be ejected immediately and told to "go fornicate with themselves" - and the party can make that clear to new recruits when they join. As you say, that's a no-brainer.

But I'm curious as to why you have it as an out of character rule enforced by the GM rather than leaving it as an in character rule enforced by the PCs?
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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by BlackBat242 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:55 am

Because he refuses to let some ego-hound ruin the game if the other players either forget to set that rule, or let the ijiot beg and blubber his way into "letting it slide, just this once"... which is always followed by "but you didn't kick me out last time, it wouldn't be fair to do it this time".
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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by cab » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:15 am

With regard to the 'no skimming party funds' rule, I can entirely see why you'd do that for an online game. Not sure I'd need it in a sit at the table game; I've regularly seen party members being 'creative' in their accountancy, and it has always been taken in good faith by the other players (and its been entertaining seeing how the characters have resolved these things over the years!). In the spod squad of PCs at present there's a classic low intelligence, mid-wisdom fighter slowly losing a battle of wills with an intelligent magic sword that thinks its a pirate, and who is also wearing a ring of alignment changing. Needless to say, the fighter has been skimming off party 'booty' and any 'nice bits of shiny' he gets to first... She's been roleplaying said fighter brilliantly, and the next session (with the rest of the party, at great expense, sneaking a higher level NPC priest into the inn they're staying at to try to remove some of these curses/influences) should be most memorable :)

Frank, is this a rule that you apply to online games or is it something you always use when DM'ing?

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Hugin » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:06 pm

ExTSR wrote:The Thief rule is a no-brainer to me. Your average NPC thief doesn't get invited adventuring and has to grunge around town to make ends meet... they're the gutter thieves, or townies, if you will.
I love the way you brought this out. And although I ran my games with a similar 'rule', I wish I had said it as well as you did! ;)

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:32 pm

Azaghal wrote:I love that idea and intend to use it as law in my games.
Kewl. But a caveat. The following is all true.
I believe that:

I have a lot of good advice to share after playing D&D for 34 years.
Yet my opinions, and the options I bring to light, are merely advice.
And LOTS of gamers have good ideas and good advice. Like you, I'm part of Gaming.

So:
When you start chiseling things in stone, don't take me for granite.
Okay, groan. I'm serious.

Play whatever game you enjoy, and play it your way.
If I can help you find your focus, kewl.
But pls do NOT automatically assume that my idea is Right.

It's your call.

I'm not hassling you for what you said; if that really works for you, great.
:)

F

(o/~ Play it your... way... o/~ Hmmm... Is that a manifesto? or Trite? or Something Else?)
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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:14 pm

cab wrote:Have you had a look through the assorted 'retro-clone' games?
Hey, taxi-man, howya? LTNS. (yukyukyuk, I'm in a good mood this morn.)
Well of course, Cab.
This is an unsung Age; we're still in it so we lack the perspective to see how great it is and it's too early for the bards to compose their opera (plural for opus, folks, the fat lady ain't singin' here).

It's not a renaissance or rebirth but it could be a Revolution. We'll see.

Thanks to the Open Game License (OGL) we can publish & play whatever D&D we want.

Near-total Freedom of Gaming... at least compared to the bad ol' days when TSR legal was stomping everyone to maintain IP rights ('cause they had to but that's another story).

A lot of folks can't find or afford the Originals. So we got clones, we got old school style in dynamite new games (like C&C and Hack and others), we got free and low-cost downloadables with hardcopy retail options... da woiks. Vewwy kewl.

I love it.
Is it your plan to release material that will be mostly in support of one or more of those, or are you looking to publish something more systemless? Or are you instead aiming to do something else OGL related?
There's an awful lot I plan to do, and you of course understand that there's a lot I can't talk about yet.

Shane's Pinnacle has to support his Savage Worlds. That's the course they chose.
Dave & Jolly are doing the Kenzer thing and Hackmaster. They're on course.
Steve & Davis have a good thing going with the Troll Lords and C&C, their focus of choice.
Those (and many others, I'm just mentioning guys I personally know) are the full-timers, the real (but small) companies.

Then there are all you glorious talented Guys (and Gals) with Day Jobs who add your strong voices to the choir, seeking not glory or loot, merely wanting to take part, to contribute in modest but heartfelt ways... and to be recognized and appreciated, just a little bit.

Don't count me into this yet, haven't published a darn thing for twenty years. I've been out there in the nongaming Real World doing real Business stuff... and learning and absorbing... but not contributing much, not in the trenches like those pro shops -- the stalwarts who are getting slapped around by the fickle Industry but are keeping their heads high and still holding to the course they chose.

But wouldn't it be excellent if all those folks -- and you and you and you -- were to change course ever-so-slightly and all start going in the same direction, reminding everyone that Cibola is hiding or waiting but it's still there -- our city of gold, where roleplaying, real roleplaying, grows and blossoms and brings myriad joys and inspirations to the two lives we all live, within gaming and the realworld too. Roleplaying broadens us, makes us appreciate cooperation, makes us better people. Really. And that's a Good Thing, a Worthy thing. And the truth will out.

The wind is changing, and a rising tide floats all boats.
And I'm back.

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Dave L » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:24 pm

ExTSR wrote: But wouldn't it be excellent if all those folks -- and you and you and you -- were to change course ever-so-slightly and all start going in the same direction, reminding everyone that Cibola is hiding or waiting but it's still there -- our city of gold, where roleplaying, real roleplaying, grows and blossoms and brings myriad joys and inspirations to the two lives we all live, within gaming and the realworld too. Roleplaying broadens us, makes us appreciate cooperation, makes us better people. Really. And that's a Good Thing, a Worthy thing. And the truth will out.

The wind is changing, and a rising tide floats all boats.
And I'm back.

F
*mouth drops open, wipes a tear from his eye*

That is .... inspiring. Truly.

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:25 pm

Dave L wrote:The "blimpies" sound a real campaign changer.
Are they paid in cash or items?
Some uses I see for them...
Good, you can See. Kewl.
Be careful of course; such things are fundamental to a campaign. Change or limit as you see fit, beware chaos and imbalance and ramifications.
IMC they must be convinced, through friendships, favors, whatever. Loot is of no interest; they have other priorities (and who knows what those are; they're the shy, private sort).
The Sef - I'm not into Cthulhuoid stuff, but I can imagine a couple of guys salivating over possible links.
Sure, you could go that way. But IMC the Sef are utterly, ruthlessly neutral. And they have a pov that's frighteningly long-term. Sea Mother is an absolute master of manipulation and the proper use of power. I have developed them as a race and as individuals -- dozens of specialty-forms, weird bioconstructs (beings) created and functioning as their extensions/tools (they overcame huge handicaps to get where they are, remember) -- and from one point of view the planet is theirs in eternity while assorted land-based riffraff come and go.

Shiver.

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:29 pm

Blacky the Blackball wrote:That all makes perfect sense as an in character rule that the party might have... But I'm curious as to why you have it as an out of character rule enforced by the GM rather than leaving it as an in character rule enforced by the PCs?
BlackBat242 wrote:Because he refuses to let some ego-hound ruin the game if the other players either forget to set that rule, or let the ijiot beg and blubber his way into "letting it slide, just this once"
cab wrote:is this a rule that you apply to online games or is it something you always use when DM'ing?
Essentially so, and yes, more common online (where you lack the visual clues as to whether someone's a goodguy or a rat ;> ). Please note that whatever the venue, the DM fiat quickly becomes a style of play embraced by all -- and it's really irrelevant that it started as a Rule. :)

F

(edit: fixed the spelling of "lack". Sheesh. :/ )
Last edited by ExTSR on Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:35 pm

Hugin wrote:although I ran my games with a similar 'rule', I wish I had said it as well as you did!
Well, thank you. That's What I Do (sometimes). However it happened I carry a small gift, however I received it (here insert your preferred flavor of philosophy, religion, or any other Belief system). You have certain excellent talents which, I hope, are appreciated in your circles as well.

We each have a Place in the world. :)

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Big Mac » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:26 am

ExTSR wrote:This place is too darn quiet. ;>
I have a strange feeling that it is going to get a bit noisier, now! :lol:
night_druid wrote:Heh, I just wish I knew enough about Aquaria to know what questions to ask! :)
What question should Night Druid ask to learn something interesting about Aquaria?
ExTSR wrote:The Thief rule is a no-brainer to me. Your average NPC thief doesn't get invited adventuring and has to grunge around town to make ends meet... they're the gutter thieves, or townies, if you will.

But if they can cut it (assumed for PC thieves), they take a quantum leap toward the Big Bucks. So why the heck would a thief PC risk getting tossed out of an adventuring party and go back to the slums? -- which is exactly what SHOULD happen to one who steals from the guys who are usually watching his back.

In play, that means that PC is Retired and doesn't get another chance (no matter how much the player cries about it). And note that pilfering from treasures 'soon to be acquired' (e.g. advance scouting by said thief, or even just wandering nearby separated from the party) IS stealing from the party (skip the legalistic rationalization; won't fly imc) and doom cometh.

Don't kill 'em, toss 'em. That nonsense will stop right away.
As with the above houserule, this is subject to group preference... but I invoke all my 34 years of DMing on this one and recommend against intraparty theft in the strongest possible terms.
That is a great rule. I used to do a lot of LARP (mostly sci-fi LARP, but I started with fantasy LARP at Labyrinth). I heard rumours of a few players that figured out that it was more profitable to assasinate all the other players, steal all their equipment and money and not bother with the actual LARP adventure. (They even had an assassin class! :roll: )

The best RPGs I've done (including LARPs) have been ones where the PC group has a "character" of its own and the PCs have a "built in" loyalty to the cause that stops them from stabbing each other in the back.
ExTSR wrote:Well sure. The 'blimpies' (you can't pronounce their real name) are elemental air-beings who look similar to clouds, but are sentient and can be paid for services. Their specialty is Telekinesis as per the spell (q.v.). Since they accelerate steadily they can reach Mach1 fairly quickly (and they keep accelerating from there of course), and are really ideal for transcontinental aerial transport. Such things can change civilizations, and that is why I mention them first.

Then there are the Sef. Formidible, prolly unshakeable. Ruled by an absolute monarch, the "Sea Mother" -- who may in fact be the progenitrix of the race and tens of thousands of years old -- these giant squid control the seas. Their numbers are vast. They communicate as do other squid, with flashing lights down the sides of their bodies, and thus require humanoid intermediaries to translate for them. Some are of extremely high INT, others less so. There are many mysteries involving the Sef, including their 'recording device' (the "ChiRec") now in widespread use amongst all land nations (especially in legal matters), obvious skill at bioengineering (down under; let that wait for later, tho), yet their utter loathing of technology (so how do they DO all that?).

Many other less notable creatures will be found by the gentle reader, in time. And of course there are also new magicks, both spells and items, and lots more new things.
Do you think that any of the less notable creatures will be ones that are playable?
ExTSR wrote:I CAN say that in certain mountain ranges 'dumpsites' have been found, in fact jettison grounds for incoming space vessels (don't spend fuel on landing your trash, jettison you fool). The vessels shouldn't be there in the first place and would be vaporized if they got caught... smugglers, obviously. And in such dumps one may find occasional partial or even whole Objects of interesting (and tabu) nature. (Turn that .45 over to the church for destruction? If you use it for Good it could penetrate a demon's MR/AM due to its tek nature! Aargh! Ethical quandaries abound in Aquaria.)
Oooh! An implied space component. Nice! :cool:

There might be one or two Spelljammer fans around here. :mrgreen:

How much of Aquaria's space regions and space creatures have you worked out? Is this all stuff from the distant past or are they still up there?
ExTSR wrote:The purging of trademarks, and avoidance of copyrighted materials, will of course be a careful process. I have no desire to tangle with the owners of the marks. If we come to some Agreement before I release, well and good; if not, the few words can be easily expunged without damaging the fabric of the campaign.
Purging the stuff could actually give you the potential to expand your setting (later on) into a World of Aquira. If someone can make friends with a blimpie and get flown around at Mach 1, your map might seem a bit smaller than if they are restricted to walking and riding.
cab wrote:Have you had a look through the assorted 'retro-clone' games? Is it your plan to release material that will be mostly in support of one or more of those, or are you looking to publish something more systemless? Or are you instead aiming to do something else OGL related?
I quite like the way that Green Ronin's Freeport works, with some books "personalised" to specific settings, but others being systemless. I suspect that makes it a bit easier to support more settings (and more GMs). I think that total support for settings makes a publisher work a lot harder at making "crunchy stuff" and leaves less time for "fluffy stuff".
Blacky the Blackball wrote:That all makes perfect sense as an in character rule that the party might have - anyone caught stealing will be ejected immediately and told to "go fornicate with themselves" - and the party can make that clear to new recruits when they join. As you say, that's a no-brainer.

But I'm curious as to why you have it as an out of character rule enforced by the GM rather than leaving it as an in character rule enforced by the PCs?
I'm surprised that was your first question and not: "Is there any chance that a Dark Dungeons edition of Aquiria might be on the schedule at some point?" ;)
ExTSR wrote:(o/~ Play it your... way... o/~ Hmmm... Is that a manifesto? or Trite? or Something Else?)
"Play it your way" sounds like like it should be your answer to "Products of your imagination". Maybe it should be on your back cover blurb and on your marketing stuff.
ExTSR wrote:Thanks to the Open Game License (OGL) we can publish & play whatever D&D we want.

Near-total Freedom of Gaming... at least compared to the bad ol' days when TSR legal was stomping everyone to maintain IP rights ('cause they had to but that's another story).
I truly think that the SRD, the OGL and the (not so much mentioned) ESD Conversion Agreement are the three best things that Wizards of the Coast gave to gaming. Gaming is a collaborative thing between a setting designer, a GM and their players.

I think that the distortion of copyright control, which has of taken the power from authors and given it to corporations, has really held back gaming sometimes (and a number of other industries that rely on collaboration). Gamers want "stuff", but as well as TSR stomping on companies making compatible stuff, they also shut down a number of interesting settings, sometimes because they were not bringing in a ton-o-cash* but sometimes because of internal-political nonsense**.

* = Shutting down something because it isn't selling enough is logical, from a business point of view, because a small cult setting may be a ton-of-fun for the designer and their fans, but the cost to income ratio might be so low that the only way to finance it is via the love of the designer and small scale publishing, like Print on Demand (which TSR didn't really have acccess to).

** = I've got little to no time for the internal-politics stuff, because I know that the gameworlds that I love come from the imagination of one or more designers. And those people are only on this planet for so long before they die. If someone wants to create an imaginary world, and a publisher decides they no longer want to support it, they really should "hand it back" to its creator and let them try to do something with it elsewhere.
ExTSR wrote:A lot of folks can't find or afford the Originals. So we got clones, we got old school style in dynamite new games (like C&C and Hack and others), we got free and low-cost downloadables with hardcopy retail options... da woiks. Vewwy kewl.

I love it.

<snip>

Then there are all you glorious talented Guys (and Gals) with Day Jobs who add your strong voices to the choir, seeking not glory or loot, merely wanting to take part, to contribute in modest but heartfelt ways... and to be recognized and appreciated, just a little bit.
I think there is a lot of publishers and self-publishers out there who have the "old school revival" covered. One thing I think the fans do really really well (at times) is create new content for the "old setting revival". Where WotC has been unable or unwilling to bring back or licence campaign settings a lot of fans have stepped in and added some really great stuff.
ExTSR wrote:Don't count me into this yet, haven't published a darn thing for twenty years. I've been out there in the nongaming Real World doing real Business stuff... and learning and absorbing... but not contributing much, not in the trenches like those pro shops -- the stalwarts who are getting slapped around by the fickle Industry but are keeping their heads high and still holding to the course they chose.
We have companies like Paizo and DriveThru RPG putting out downloads for publishers and companies like Lulu putting out Print on Demand products (like Dark Dungeons). I think what role playing needs next is a publisher that will work with authors on a more equal basis, so that authors who can't handle self-publishing can get on with their stuff and let the publisher do all the sort of things that TSR used to do. Maybe this theoretical publishing company could work on the basis of having "first rights" to the next RPG suppliment that a designer creates. That would seem to be more like the sort of deals that novel writers get.
ExTSR wrote:But wouldn't it be excellent if all those folks -- and you and you and you -- were to change course ever-so-slightly and all start going in the same direction, reminding everyone that Cibola is hiding or waiting but it's still there -- our city of gold, where roleplaying, real roleplaying, grows and blossoms and brings myriad joys and inspirations to the two lives we all live, within gaming and the realworld too. Roleplaying broadens us, makes us appreciate cooperation, makes us better people. Really. And that's a Good Thing, a Worthy thing. And the truth will out.
Cibola? My initial investigation on Google turned up Cibola High School: Home of the Cougers, which gave me the impression that I would be attending your roleplaying class to learn more about the game and then have hot mature ladies chatting me up after school ends! :P :twisted: :mrgreen:

I think I know what you meant now, but I think I prefer my version! ;)
ExTSR wrote:The wind is changing, and a rising tide floats all boats.
I think that is what role-playing was meant to be all along. :cool:
ExTSR wrote:And I'm back.
Great! That is a victory for all the fans who never wanted you to go away and the players who joined later on in the hobby who never got the chance to see your work. :mrgreen:
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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by ExTSR » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:14 am

Big Mac wrote:Do you think that any of the less notable creatures will be ones that are playable?
OIC, you're hunting PC-viable races. Hmmmm...
The draeders (driders who are part dragon as well) are quite nasty... but definitely not for PC use. No, I don't recall any new PC races offhand. I will think on that; might be a popular feature. Thanks for the suggestion. :)
How much of Aquaria's space regions and space creatures have you worked out? Is this all stuff from the distant past or are they still up there?
A good bit is worked out, since it's Ceti Tau 4. And let's just say... They're Back.
"Is there any chance that a Dark Dungeons edition of Aquiria might be on the schedule at some point?"
Since we're going to cover all the clones and retrostyles that we can assemble, sure. Of course it's really for FD&D... ;>

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by cab » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:43 am

ExTSR wrote:A good bit is worked out, since it's Ceti Tau 4.
For how long have you been using that as a location? I seem to recall (from gold box Immortals) that you listed the closest star to mans that had magical civilisation on planets around it as being Epsilon Eriadni. Now, my stellar geography is sadly lacking (I was into astronomy before I was into dinosaurs, and I lost track of dinosaurs when I discovered girls, so its a long time ago!) so I can't immediately say where one is relative to the other...

Anyway, its quite pleasing to place the world of Aquaria (hence perhaps also Greyhawk) in such a location relative to the D&D Known World/Mystara. It may be supposed that there would be quite some overlap between the two in terms of immortal interests, which would of course explain cross speciation etc.

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Re: Q&A with Frank

Post by Big Mac » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:09 pm

ExTSR wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Do you think that any of the less notable creatures will be ones that are playable?
OIC, you're hunting PC-viable races. Hmmmm...
The draeders (driders who are part dragon as well) are quite nasty... but definitely not for PC use. No, I don't recall any new PC races offhand. I will think on that; might be a popular feature. Thanks for the suggestion. :)
You can blame 3e for that. That Level Adjustment mechanic makes pretty much all intelligent monsters into playable races. I suspect that some of the races might be a bit overpowered for more classic versions of D&D, but I bet a good GM could figure a way to get anything that 3e does to work with older rules.
ExTSR wrote:
Big Mac wrote:How much of Aquaria's space regions and space creatures have you worked out? Is this all stuff from the distant past or are they still up there?
A good bit is worked out, since it's Ceti Tau 4. And let's just say... They're Back.

That is also used in Mystara IIRC. Looks like something else I need to learn from OD&D canon (something I know very little about).
ExTSR wrote:
Big Mac wrote:"Is there any chance that a Dark Dungeons edition of Aquiria might be on the schedule at some point?"
Since we're going to cover all the clones and retrostyles that we can assemble, sure. Of course it's really for FD&D... ;>
Frank's Dungeons & Dragons, perhaps? :shock: :o :) :D :cool:

One thing I would ask for myself is - is there any chance that 3e might get some support later down the line?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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