LFR - Not sure I see the Point

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Played 2 LFR events (at level 1) getting the character to L2. I'm not really sure I see the point of all the rules and the restrictions. You generate a L1 character with careful restrictions (which I did). You play him in an event for which he's really not qualified (because the event is L1-4 and he's at best a liability). You're not allowed to pick anything up (magic or mundane) for fear of unbalancing the game. If the bad guy shoots arrows at you, you're not allowed to get his bow or his arrows or his armor because it's not a valid game award. When you're done you can play the same character next year with the 1 or 2 magic items or the small amount of money that was in your valid game reward.


I'm not sure I see the advantage over just having events where you bring your own character and where the DM looks it over to determine if there's anything he needs to disallow. Seems to me that if you did that, you could play just one level set for each adventure and just have people bring a character of the requisite level with the requisite number of magic items/money. Everyone could keep a few clean legal characters of say 3rd, 7th, 11th, and 15th and play those at Gencon.


Why go berserk over all the rules and restrictions? What does it really buy you? Now that I've done it, I'm not sure I wouldn't have just been happier with normal events where they just give you the character they want you to play. At least then your character is approximately the same level of ability of the other players.


You play him in an event for which he's really not qualified (because the event is L1-4 and he's at best a liability).


 




That adventure is written at two difficulty levels: a "low" version, more appropriate for level 1-2 characters, and a "high" version, which is more challenging.  Were you at a table with other 1st level PCs, or not?



You're not allowed to pick anything up (magic or mundane) for fear of unbalancing the game. If the bad guy shoots arrows at you, you're not allowed to get his bow or his arrows or his armor because it's not a valid game award.




Sounds like a DM issue.  If the NPC has equipment listed, you should have been able to use it, at least for the remainder of the module.  And, if the NPC had a magic item, your party should certainly have been able to use it for the rest of the adventure.



When you're done you can play the same character next year with the 1 or 2 magic items or the small amount of money that was in your valid game reward.




Or, you could play that same character at the convention next month, or at the game day at the local gaming store, if those are options for you.



I'm not sure I see the advantage over just having events where you bring your own character and where the DM looks it over to determine if there's anything he needs to disallow. Seems to me that if you did that, you could play just one level set for each adventure and just have people bring a character of the requisite level with the requisite number of magic items/money. Everyone could keep a few clean legal characters of say 3rd, 7th, 11th, and 15th and play those at Gencon.




Many people enjoy creating a character and seeing that character advance and evolve through actual game play.   And, they enjoy being able to play their character at different events, without having to worry about DM caprice on their items and abilities ("Oh, no, sorry, I think that vicious weapons are broken, I don't allow those at my table").  The RPGA rules standardize how you advance your character in a Living campaign, and allow the DMs (and campaign staff) to know what to expect as far as what characters are going to have.



Why go berserk over all the rules and restrictions? What does it really buy you? Now that I've done it, I'm not sure I wouldn't have just been happier with normal events where they just give you the character they want you to play. At least then your character is approximately the same level of ability of the other players.




If you're not planning on playing LFR on a regular basis, you may well have been happier with a pre-generated character in a one-shot adventure.

"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"

I'm not sure I see the advantage over just having events where you bring your own character and where the DM looks it over to determine if there's anything he needs to disallow.


That's kind of like asking, "Why bother playing Star Wars?  You can have just as much fun playing D&D." "Well, sure, but I want to play a jedi."


The point of playing LFR is the ongoing shared campaign.  You can play a character in your home group with friends, then go and play the exact same character (with all the accumulated abilities and magic items) at Gencon or with another group, and then bring the character back to your home group.


If you're looking at a Living game as a once-a-year one-shot, then, sure, there's very little point and you're probably better off playing a game intended to be a once-a-year one-shot.  If you try to play LFR that way, you'll probably be as frustrated as if you were trying to roleplay Gandalf in a Star Wars game--you might technically be able to pull it off, but you might have more fun in a game designed for what you're doing.

I enjoy the LFR standards, as a player but mostly as a DM.  If I had to review each individual character sheet that crossed my table(s) my gametime would be severely negatively impacted, especially as characters gain new powers and gear with each level.


For instance: I ran  several  paragon tables with 12th & 13th-level adventurers at a recent convention.  To ballpark, I'd assume 5 minutes per sheet to review gear and powers as I'm not 100% familiar with every 4e reference out there.  In all, I'm losing 30 minutes of game time; on average, the paragon adventures are running 30-60 minutes long as-is.  30 minutes of empty time at the table, per game, loses the attention of the players and lowers the overall impact of the event.


I believe it comes down to a logisitics issue for many of us.  By combining the character creation and reward retention methods into a solid standard across the board, we can focus on what D&D does best:


 


Game on!

 

Alan Patrick

Associate Community Manager, D&D Adventurers League

http://dndadventurersleague.org

...That adventure is written at two difficulty levels: a "low" version, more appropriate for level 1-2 characters, and a "high" version, which is more challenging.  Were you at a table with other 1st level PCs, or not?


Yes, the table was randomly assigned from the people waiting to play and there were higher level characters in the party. I had very little choice.


Sounds like a DM issue.  If the NPC has equipment listed, you should have been able to use it, at least for the remainder of the module.  And, if the NPC had a magic item, your party should certainly have been able to use it for the rest of the adventure.


Well, admittedly I only know what they told me in the game but we weren't allowed to pick up ANYTHING. The DM told us everything they had was broken and unusable unless it was a game award.


Many people enjoy creating a character and seeing that character advance and evolve through actual game play.   And, they enjoy being able to play their character at different events, without having to worry about DM caprice on their items and abilities ("Oh, no, sorry, I think that vicious weapons are broken, I don't allow those at my table").  The RPGA rules standardize how you advance your character in a Living campaign, and allow the DMs (and campaign staff) to know what to expect as far as what characters are going to have.


Well, this IS a convention game. You could always bring your character back and worry about his advancement yourself. You could just bring your regular group character, edited to disallow magic items the DM doesn't wish to allow. I'm not sure who this hurts or why the control is necessary. There are no million dollar prizes at stake and people are paying to play. The objective should be to have fun, not to have the highest legal character in the RPGA.


If you're not planning on playing LFR on a regular basis, you may well have been happier with a pre-generated character in a one-shot adventure.


THEY were filled, so there must be others who prefer the one-shots as well. I suspect that many people played the LFR events were there because that was all they could get into -- just like me. I'm not sorry I played the LFR events, I had fun. I'm very sorry I played in the "ultimate delve" thinking it was a RPG. But the LFR events were ok, it just seemed as if they weren't really the right events for me. I have enough issues with 4e without playing a 4th level adventure as a 1st level character.


I enjoy the LFR standards, as a player but mostly as a DM.  If I had to review each individual character sheet that crossed my table(s) my gametime would be severely negatively impacted, especially as characters gain new powers and gear with each level.


 




I'm pretty sure our GM DID review our characters. There wasn't much to review at 1st level, but he looked them over.

If you don't have other LFR players in your area, and you're just playing it at a con... then I'd have trouble seeing the point too.


Or, if you're in a regular home gaming group, there's less reason to have your group doing LFR, without player rewards.


To me, the point of LFR is this:


1) If you have an odd schedule or constant interruptions to your schedule.  My last play group was "every other Friday", and life got too complicated for us to make it.  Fortunately, I live near a large city so I benefit from the large amount of players in the LFR base.  If someone (or myself) posts to the group web page "who can play on Wednesday?", we can probably make a table.


2) They're pre-written, 4-hour adventures.  I DM LFR adventures for my church kids.  4 Hours is about where the attention level drops.  Most dragon adventures and other published stuff is for longer adventures.  Sure, I can write my own stuff (and I did for this week), but I typically don't have the time to do that.


3) With that mass of players I was referring to in point 1 - it's cool for our characters to weave in and out of each other's lifes.


I dunno man, maybe it's not for you.  For me, it's my best option for playing D&D.

Rule Zero: Save vs. Hivemind http://rulezeroblog.wordpress.com


Yes, the table was randomly assigned from the people waiting to play and there were higher level characters in the party. I had very little choice.




That's unfortunate, and surprises me a little bit (since it sounds like you'e talking about GenCon).  IME, at mustering, people generally do try to form up into balanced tables (from both a party role standpoint, and a level standpoint).  If you wound up at a "randomly assigned" table, that's kind of odd.  Not saying that it didn't happen, just saying that it strikes me as unusual.



You could just bring your regular group character, edited to disallow magic items the DM doesn't wish to allow. I'm not sure who this hurts or why the control is necessary.




As warfteiner noted above, the primary issue is that it's going to take the DM time to do that...time that takes away from actually playing the game.


Secondary to that: who makes the call on "what the DM doesn't wish to allow?"  The DM?  Part of the appeal of a campaign like LFR is that I know I can take my LFR PC to any LFR table, anywhere in the world, sit down, and play.  I know I have a "legal" character, and I know that I won't have to deal with somebody's house rules, or opinion on which parts of my character he just doesn't like.



THEY [the one-shot adventures] were filled, so there must be others who prefer the one-shots as well. I suspect that many people played the LFR events were there because that was all they could get into -- just like me.




Once upon a time, the RPGA offered a *lot* of adventures with pre-generated characters, often at different levels (these were eventually called "Classic" adventures, as contrasted with "Living" adventures, since the RPGA originally only did adventures with pre-generated characters).  Other than the "regular" Delve, I don't think that the RPGA ran anything that would qualify as a "one-shot", with pregenerated characters, at GenCon this year.


That said, there were a *ton* of other folks, beyond the RPGA, at GenCon running games, many of which were "characters provided"...just not in the RPGA hall.

"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"

Alot of what ran at GenCon were some sort of special mods for LFR. Many were scaled a bit more difficultly than typical mods of the same level so you may have sort of run into the worse case type scenarios where you the 1st level character playing perhaps the most difficult mods available in that level range.


It also seems like you may be viewing it on one-shot terms without getting far enough into feel the pay off. If you are playing one or two games a year, the mods will probably fall short of their potential for you where as those playing 10, 20, 50, 100 or more mods a year can begin to better appreciate the satisfaction of growing there character up the levels and the ability to play a long term character at nearly any large convention they go to.


i also think the Dm messed up by not allowing the use of found items through out the mod, most will.


~MB

That's unfortunate, and surprises me a little bit (since it sounds like you'e talking about GenCon).  IME, at mustering, people generally do try to form up into balanced tables (from both a party role standpoint, and a level standpoint).  If you wound up at a "randomly assigned" table, that's kind of odd.  Not saying that it didn't happen, just saying that it strikes me as unusual.

...Once upon a time, the RPGA offered a *lot* of adventures with pre-generated characters, often at different levels (these were eventually called "Classic" adventures, as contrasted with "Living" adventures, since the RPGA originally only did adventures with pre-generated characters).  Other than the "regular" Delve, I don't think that the RPGA ran anything that would qualify as a "one-shot", with pregenerated characters, at GenCon this year.


That said, there were a *ton* of other folks, beyond the RPGA, at GenCon running games, many of which were "characters provided"...just not in the RPGA hall.




The mustering, even for people like me with tickets but without full parties already arranged was chaos incarnate. WITH a ticket I was foolishly hoping to walk up to the table and start playing. The second game I was trying to get in with generics and then I appreciated that even without a ticket I was able to get in. But that was even GREATER chaos incarnate, with the added complication that the actual musterers treated me with considerably less respect since I "only" had a generic.

I haven't gone to a Gencon for 14 years, and back then the RPGA games were heavy on role-playing and light on story sometimes. Obviously a whole different crowd is in charge now because both adventures were HEAVY on encounter and so light on story AND roleplaying that they were practically delves (I've learned the delve code word now to mean NO roleplaying). The games were timed then too (and the chars were ALL provided) but the hard part was solving the problem in time, not running out of combat time. To some extent, I think that's 4e. People say that there's no reason why a 4e game has to be light on story or character interaction, but somehow most of them are. The LFR games are really just encounters and skill challenges strung together with nothing holding them together. It's sad that the RPGA event has degenerated into a mere string of combat encounters. Or maybe I'm just a curmugeon who's looking for a type of game that no longer exists. I see that as the most likely possibility.


I haven't gone to a Gencon for 14 years, and back then the RPGA games were heavy on role-playing and light on story sometimes. Obviously a whole different crowd is in charge now because both adventures were HEAVY on encounter and so light on story AND roleplaying that they were practically delves (I've learned the delve code word now to mean NO roleplaying). The games were timed then too (and the chars were ALL provided) but the hard part was solving the problem in time, not running out of combat time. To some extent, I think that's 4e. People say that there's no reason why a 4e game has to be light on story or character interaction, but somehow most of them are. The LFR games are really just encounters and skill challenges strung together with nothing holding them together. It's sad that the RPGA event has degenerated into a mere string of combat encounters. Or maybe I'm just a curmugeon who's looking for a type of game that no longer exists. I see that as the most likely possibility.




I think you've hit on the key to your "disappointment" here.  Yes, the RPGA is a very different animal now than it was in 1995.  Back then, many of those "classic" events were largely written for role-playing, and giving players the chance to explore different character roles.  The RPGA even used to offer multi-round events, in which you only advanced to the next round if you were judged, by your fellow players, to have been the best role-player at your table.


(A lot of my friends in the RPGA are long-time members, and remember those days fondly and wistfully.)


In LFR, the adventures are written to an XP budget.  In order to award 560 XP, a level 1-4 adventure at "high" is almost always going to require 4 XP-awarding encounters, which usually works out to 3 combats and a skill challenge. 


Playing one of those adventures at home, or in a less time-regimented enviroment like a local game day, you have the freedom to let that adventure take well over 4 hours, which gives you the opportunity to role-play, and go "off the map" if you want. 


At GenCon, you don't have that luxury.  Most players are going to want to finish the adventure (to get the full XP and GP) if at all possible, and so, role-playing is going to be subsidiary.  That's simply what convention play of a Living-style module tends to be like.


As I noted before, there *are* people and groups who still run that kind of game at GenCon (some friends of mine played in the Call of Cthulhu tournament, which is definitely that kind of game).  It's just not really a part of the RPGA anymore.

"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"

From what I remember, classic adventures were removed since there simply was not enough people who wanted to play such adventures on a regular basis. They were simply not worth the limited resources of the RPGA. I remember playing CoC at a Winter Fantasy and at best there were two tables during a slot, if that, while each LG adventure had over a dozen of tables.

Note that there is story and RP in LFR. It is just at times very hard to get it when at a big convention with a limited time slot and a random assortment of players.


From what I remember, classic adventures were removed since there simply was not enough people who wanted to play such adventures on a regular basis. They were simply not worth the limited resources of the RPGA. 




The demand for Classics definitely declined.  I think that the explosion in Living-style campaigns that the RPGA offered during the first few years of the 3.x era probably contributed to this -- there were so many options for RPGA players, that you could easily fill your dancecard at GenCon with a wide variety of RPGA Living events, and never play a Classic.


I also know that some fans of Classics were very disappointed in the last generation of the ones created by the RPGA.  The pregenerated PCs in a Classic module typically had detailed backgrounds and role-playing hooks, which were a great boon for a player looking to do four hours of immersive role-playing.  From what I was told, the last Classics that the RPGA produced (this would have been around 2002 or 2003, IIRC) often had little or no background for the PCs.  To the fan of what Classics once were, these were no longer Classics as they knew them, and weren't worthwhile playing.

"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"

4e totally feels like a MMORPG, and so does LFR as it is presented now.  I don't mind it, but it is definitely cookie cutter kill the monster get the loot Roll Playing.

I'm an avid LFR player. I've been playing since it premiered, and I average at least 3-4 mods every week either running or playing in. I also remember what the RPGA was like way back when (Living Jungle FTW) so I do understand what you're saying about things changing. Now, don't get me wrong - I absolutely love LFR - I can kick down the door, and hack n slash with the best of them, and I thoroughly enjoy my sessions of LFR, even if more often than not they wind up being extended tactical mini skirmishes with a bit of plot thrown in. However If I could have my choice, I would choose a more immersive, story-driven roleplaying game with intense character development and interaction, but that's just not everybody's cup of tea. The gamers that prefer that style are the minority, and the overwhelming majority of that minority aren't even playing any version of D&D, but rather systems that better reflect and handle what it is they want out of a game. However LFR and the RPGA does an absolutely amazing job at what it's supposed to do, and as someone who's been around for awhile I can tell you that I have no trouble believing it when I hear that LFR is far and away the most successful Living campaign that has ever been.


So what does LFR do? What is the point? First of all I gotta echo everybody else when they say that if you're only playing LFR rarely at conventions, then yeah - there really isn't much of a point to it. LFR provides a means for characters to get played, and adventure, and develop all across the world and intermingle and adventure with each other, and they each have their own personal histories and whatnot. It's a pretty awesome thing when you have a group of LFR characters that adventure together in a home game or FLGS, and then some of the players from that group take their characters to a big con or something, and when they get back, their characters can tell the characters that didn't get to go all about their interesting travels and adventures. To put it simply, LFR gives us an opportunity to take the characters that we develop and play regularly out to a convention and continue playing them without breaking up their story or invalidating everything they've done before. When they get back from the convention what they've done "counts" it has actually happened in the ongoing story of their character and it's development. When you play non-Living adventures at a convention, with pregenerated characters, or characters made at a certain level just for that adventure - it's like an isolated event. Nothing has happened before it to that character, and nothing will happen after it. When you bring your Living character to a con and play in Living events, it's just one chapter in an ongoing story, and to many of the players in LFR that is "the point."


For me however, one of the biggest attractions to LFR is that it isn't going to get dropped out of the blue. I can't tell you how many times, across numerous game systems, I've made a character for a new campaign or game, put a lot of thought into him and his story, planned out how he might possibly grow or progress, and then after only a handful of sessions, the DM quits. In LFR you can have a sort of security insurance in knowing that you can put a lot of love and effort into your characters, and that for the life of the organized campaign, you are always going to be able to play them. If your DMs get burned out or quit, or even if your whole group dissolves, you don't have to scrap the character and start over. There are a TON of LFR groups out there, and finding players to play with has never been easier, and since we're all playing under the same umbrella of rules you can just bring any of your legal characters that you've allready been playing in any other LFR games without always having to start over everytime you sit down with a new crowd. This benefit doesn't really get addressed a lot (maybe I'm the only person that has had a lot of bad experience with campaigns getting dropped), but I do think it's a pretty nice selling point as to what the benefits of LFR are.


 


-Z


For me however, one of the biggest attractions to LFR is that it isn't going to get dropped out of the blue.




Careful with that hope. Lots of us felt the same way about Living Greyhawk, too, and I assume that Living City players felt the same way.  You get to play LFR precisely as long as WotC permits it, and no longer. So instead of being disappointed when a DM drops the campaign, you will be disappointed when a corporation does so.

The point to LFR is to be a part of a Living campaign. This entails being part of a huge story that you can play over time, meeting and playing with a lot of players, trying many PCs out, etc. The point for you personally may or may not be to play in the Realms, and to benefit from what the specific campaign has to offer.


The topic of setting and story has come up a lot (say, this week on the Yahoo groups). It has been widely recognized by just about everyone that LFR had very little story/setting at first. It is also true that the setting/story is increasing pretty rapidly.


Now, DMs are DMs. Some of them will do a great job with what exists and others will not. The 4E system forces, per core rules, for a 4 hour adventure designed to level you at the 4E core rate to have a lot of encounters. This makes many modules combat heavy, especially with how long combat can take. That understood (an RPGA thing and a core rules thing, not an LFR-specific issue), you can find adventures with really good story, really nice NPCs, and really sound setting. You can have wonderful RP in LFR.


Even with the first adventures, an adventure like LURU1-1 has NPCs that are as fleshed out as any in Living Greyhawk. An adventure like ADCP1-1 Jungle Hunt, which is primarily about the adventuring company challenge and the mechanical scoring, still is written really well and is full of interesting NPCs and story elements. Now, at GenCon, it might be hard for a DM to finish on time and still explain that story, but it can certainly be done even in a narrow timeframe.


In the end, you must decide if you like what LFR offers and whether you buy into the vision behind it (an evolving vision). If not, then you likely want a home campaign or one-shot mods. There are plenty of excellent ones at GenCon and in many towns around the country. Then you have all kinds of more RP-heavy systems outside of D&D. And you don't have to play just one thing.


For many players, the big downside to LFR is the lack of a real regional system, where the story is one cohesive thing (1-3 story arcs along central themes in the same setting) and of which they are a big part (the heroes are central to the unfolding story). This is, to many, a big enough deal that they won't play LFR. I understand that. But, you can still have great RP, setting, and so on. If you want a continuing saga to which you are central, then a different game is likely better.


But, you may want to try the MINI campaign, which aims to provide just that. Our admins are really experienced gamers that enjoy setting and story. They are working constantly to provide new options. If LFR still doesn't fit your bill, don't be afraid totry it again a bit later.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).



For me however, one of the biggest attractions to LFR is that it isn't going to get dropped out of the blue.




Careful with that hope. Lots of us felt the same way about Living Greyhawk, too, and I assume that Living City players felt the same way.  You get to play LFR precisely as long as WotC permits it, and no longer. So instead of being disappointed when a DM drops the campaign, you will be disappointed when a corporation does so.





That is a valid point. However, when LG dropped, we had over a year of forewarning. It's coming! We even had a loosening of the rules (no more TU cost for adventures! Yay. Quite convenient when my main got into Red Hand of Doom).

For comparison: I've had a character die in a home HERO game, built the replacement character and then learned that the GM decided to drop the campaign before I could even get the character reviewed. I've had a home D&D game (3.5) of the World's Largest Dungeon, which we understandably expected to be a fairly long campaign, last 2 sessions. The first D&D campaign I played in lasted 1 session, the next lasted a few months before dying without warning.


In fact I got more play in LG after the campaign end was announced and given a specific fixed date than I have had in most home campaigns (regardless of system).


So, yes, LFR will one day be dropped by WotC. Most likely we will have ample warning and have plenty of chance to get games in during the final wind-down. And I expect that after the end is announced I will get in more play than I have in most entire home campaigns.

Well, as a fall back if you still want to play in a living campaign that tries to keep the story in there, there is Living Shining Jewel, www.theshiningjewel.com/lsj. The folks running LSJ are the folks from the UCC, back in the Living City days and they still know how to make things fun.They're using Pathfinder, not 4E though.


 


I wouldn't mind seeing the Classic mods come back, but then I'm an old role-player, not a roll-player, so I really enjoyed the challenges from those mods.


 


But, LFR is a different monster. It's great fun for just going out there and bashing on something. Frankly, I see it as a tactical war game with a few role-playing moments that are strung around an old familiar setting. And I enjoy working the character through the levels and being able to play them anywhere LFR is sanctioned without having to worry much.


 


I'll stick with Pathfinder for my role-playing and LFR for pure carnage.


 


--Mav


I'll stick with Pathfinder for my role-playing and LFR for pure carnage.


--Mav




You make me laugh.


 

I still remember back in the day when it was permissable to write an adventure for a Living campaign that had potentially no combat in it whatsoever.


Granted, this kinda risky concept was generally only allowed to established campiagn authors, but it made for refreshing breaks in the format.


Heck, I recall one adventure that took place ENTIRELY in the bar you started in. It was pretty fun.


 


 


-karma

LFR Characters: Lady Tiana Elinden Kobori Silverwane - Drow Control Wizard Kro'tak Warscream - Orc Bard Fulcrum of Gond - Warforged Laser Cleric


I still remember back in the day when it was permissable to write an adventure for a Living campaign that had potentially no combat in it whatsoever.


Granted, this kinda risky concept was generally only allowed to established campiagn authors, but it made for refreshing breaks in the format.


Heck, I recall one adventure that took place ENTIRELY in the bar you started in. It was pretty fun.


 


 


-karma




 


There's at least one LFR adventure out there that it's possible to complete (with full awards) with no combat, and I believe there may be others too.


4e totally feels like a MMORPG, and so does LFR as it is presented now.  I don't mind it, but it is definitely cookie cutter kill the monster get the loot Roll Playing.




 


I think that is more a critique on LFR than 4th Ed.. I think the new game is just as condusive to Rp as any other version but, the new mods cater more to a delve mentality. I think things were headed there already with LG and removing the regional flavor has had more to do with declining RP than the rule mechanics.

No, LFR aims more at the casual episodic type of game then the more tight story focus of for example LG (or at least LG in a majority of regions). Ultimately, that is what the majority of gamers at conventions, gamedays and public venues want. After all, the downside of tight storylines is that it is relatively hostile towards new gamers and people who really just want to spend time rolling the dice. Still, with things like DME and MYRE a group of gamers can certainly add enough elements to adventures to make a much more tight storyline. It requires a bit of work and works best when a DM runs for a small set of the same players, but that also tend to be the groups who liked it in previous campaigns. For example, right now I am running a string of adventures for a group of players of the same adventuring company. Since I know the PCs well, I can easily add very minor plot-hooks and PC specific incentives and I also select the order of adventures to make more sense. Furthermore, the PCs have all been designed with a similar theme into mind which certainly adds a lot of RP to the game. Finally, I run the adventures not in a 4 hour slot, but as many evenings as the players need to get to the end. It almost feels like a home campaign. I wouldn't be able to pull it off at a typical convention, but I visit those for other parts of the game I love Smile

Roleplaying and story are elements that are often more dpendent on players and DM than on the adventure (unless the adventures is a dungeoncdrawl by design,a dn even then you can add intercharacter roleplay). Especially at a Con, my experience is that roleplaying suffers. You have four hours to finish the adventure. Not the best moment to go all out on seducing the barmaid in the tavern (or the party's tiefling bard, who is  a lot easier ;) ) .


I have seen roleplay at GenCon though, despite the time drawback. The Mini (before my table dissolved in the second half) had a lot of roleplay. Other adventures less so - the special was a dungeon crawl (and designed to be one),  COR1-13 though had a story and various encounters that should have drawn out roleplay.


As to LFRa dventrues storylines: That may depnd on adventure and region. I don't yet have a clear image of the stories in regions other than the Dalelands. The Dalelnds DO have a story going on - it is however quite big so I do not expect everyone to notice the ties. People should be able to play the adventures as separate instances, so it may not always be hammered home.


I really think that if you consider the Dalelands adventures as 'bashing things', that you may not have experienced all the elements. If it is your thing, go ahead and do so. But do not try to then claim that there is no story or roleplaying available in DALE1-1, DALE1-2, DALE1-3, DALE1-4, DALE1-5, DALE1-6 or DALE1-7, as I know for a fact that there is plenty of story and roleplay opportunity available in those adventures.


 


I still remember back in the day when it was permissable to write an adventure for a Living campaign that had potentially no combat in it whatsoever.




The Writers Gudilines do state that you need to have two combat encounters in an adventure.


They do not state that those should be combats that you cannot possibly evade... :P


So, this is still possible.


Gomez


Obviously a whole different crowd is in charge now because both adventures were HEAVY on encounter and so light on story AND roleplaying that they were practically delves (I've learned the delve code word now to mean NO roleplaying). The games were timed then too (and the chars were ALL provided) but the hard part was solving the problem in time, not running out of combat time. To some extent, I think that's 4e. People say that there's no reason why a 4e game has to be light on story or character interaction, but somehow most of them are. The LFR games are really just encounters and skill challenges strung together with nothing holding them together. It's sad that the RPGA event has degenerated into a mere string of combat encounters. Or maybe I'm just a curmugeon who's looking for a type of game that no longer exists. I see that as the most likely possibility.




Well, that can be turned around as well.


I hadn't played any Living Campaign before going to the 2007 D&D Experience in Washington DC (mainly to participate in D&D Miniatures skirmish events), and was curious to try the Living Greyhawk campaign at the time. I had a very difficult time finding an event I could even participate in as a first-time player, and the one I finally did get into was still full of veteran players who brought their own preconceptions and assumptions about how the game was supposed to go to the table, not to mention had collected a number of 'campaign clues' and other bits of specialized information, some of which was relevent to the adventure at hand; it took me most of the session just to figure out what I was expected to do with my character, and even then I felt like I was just filling a seat, not really participating. The other folks at the table were good people, but I went away from the table thinking that the barriers to entry were just too high to make it worth getting involved in the campaign at that point.


That's not true in LFR, and at least part of the reason are the people running the show; our local organizers always make sure there's at least one 1-4 adventure available for people who've never played before, and every con I've been to has had multiple 'starter modules' for people to get to know the Living Campaign. Sure, part of that is because the campaign is just over a year old now, but I also believe that part of it is a recognition that you don't want to raise barriers for new players to join. If that means that modules in general tend to be geared toward a more basic level of player, then that's not necessarily a horrible thing.


Lastly, having run SPEC 1-2 for our local group, I can say that there are definitely excellent RP-heavy modules available to run in LFR, and 4th edition by no means prevents you from role-playing your character if you choose. (Ask anybody at GenCon who played with 'that weird guy with the iPhone'.)


--


Pauper

....snip... (Ask anybody at GenCon who played with 'that weird guy with the iPhone'.) -- Pauper


Dont wanna be derailing the thread but it has to be said:


Weird guy, with an iPhone, at GenCon, playing D&D....thats really not narrowing it down any at all

To DME, or not to DME: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous powergaming, Or to take arms against a sea of Munchkins, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more;

I see these topics all the time and while I would love to engage in another, I just wanted to emphasis the massive difference between the Living campaign and the actual game itself.


If anything, I have more leeway in 4e to do what I wish than I did in other previous editions.  I don't feel as restricted or fear a player pulling out some obscure reference to a page in a book I barely read ;)


Living Forgotten Realms?  Yes, it ranks right above a dungeon crawl and below a home campaign as it relates to free-form playing.

Matt James Freelance Game Designer Loremaster.org

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Weird guy, with an iPhone, at GenCon, playing D&D....thats really not narrowing it down any at all




Oh, all right.


All of the above, and add "who played 'Those Chosen By The Planet' from Final Fantasy VII whenever he cast Visions of Ruin".


Better? Tongue out


--


Pauper

We had a nice discussion about this with some of the players in our home campaign (our home campaign takes the Pathfinder desert series and converts it to 4E). All of us were good gamers that could RP cardboard boxes for several hours and have a good time with many laughs. We play lots of systems and have to choose what we want to do with our time. On that day we also played board games and Deadlands: Reloaded.


What we basically concluded is that LFR is really well suited for the casual gamer. This is because it is really easy to just jump in. You don't need to remember a previous mod to play the next. The events of one seldom affect the other, etc. As a business model, it is terrific. And, it grows the hobby, which is great.


It also works great for the more hardcore gamer, if they either are more mechanically inclined or are RPers but okay with the concept of a mission-based system rather than a story-based system. If you don't mind being in the East Rift one week and then inexplicably in Aglarond the next, no problem! Insert story, have fun RPing and gaming. For me, I'm ok with not being completely involved in the East Rift. Sure, my primary PC is built all around the East Rift and yet is paragon having only played three East Rift mods (completely blows my mind every time I think of it), but as a player I am still having a lot of fun. Not what I would ideally like, but I'm having a great time.


If you are really looking for your PC being part of a story and central to that story, then LFR in its current form will usually fall short. Aside from some story arcs, the PCs are on a mission, receive few acolades, and have little to make them the focus outside of an NPC or two that recognizes them. If we compare to LG, you would usually get to meet some important NPC who would recognize you for what you have done and that NPC would usually make you feel pretty special. You would go on to do something really heroic and feel like you were somewhat climbing the social ladder and at the center of things in the region. ("We helped the Grand Duke's royal wizard, and even had an audience with the Duke himself!") In LFR, your NPC is generally someone like a merchant and not connected to the region in any great way. Things might be happening in a region, there might be an NPC involved, but no one important knows your name and you aren't being linked to the region in any emotional or even really mechanical way. The lack of utility from story awards is a big part of this.


In its current form, however, you can still take enough story arcs to make for a tighter and more PC-relevant story. Many of us have posted on this before. Choosing mods from a few regions to get you to Paragon with some good story arcs will only get easier as time goes on. There is no shortage of adventures, with one being released each week.


And, the MINI1-1 series does seem to place the PCs right in the center of pretty cool heroic-themed events. In the very first mod you deal with named NPCs, touch on issues central to the political reality of Tarmalune, do things that change the political balance, and even get to experience something involving the biggest story element the FRCG provides for Tarmalune. If the next MINIs continue this, it really could be an answer to those looking for more story.


I think everyone should be able to have a good time with LFR. There are a lot of fun/good adventures. Depending on your worldview/preference, it may not be the best choice. I would still suggest keeping an ear out, as more and more adventures and types of adventures provide options even to those that really must have a great linked story.


I also would like more story, more heroic feel, and more sense of region. To all admins, I would keep asking for the review process to also include story review. Is the story great? Does it link well to other modules? For regional admins, this is particularly important. What is the story arc? How are things related? What story is being told here? If the region has a bunch of random one-shots that happen to be in that region... And, really, a connection is almost always superior. The TYMA mods aren't often thematically linked when it comes to foes and what the PCs actually do, but the use of common settings and NPCs makes it feel like you are part of a real story and part of an actual region. Does this use of NPCs and setting make it difficult on the new player? I don't see it doing so currently. I think both goals can be attained.

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LFR, you are doing great.  Don't change a thing.


I would like to speak up for the silent majority that thinks an adventure without a fight is most likely going to be lame and boring.  It seems like there are about 15% of LFR players who make a lot of noise on the boards about there being too much combat.  Out there on the tables at gamedays and cons I see the other 85% who are looking for fun fights connected by an interesting story.


Go find a home game full of character development and political intrigue and let LFR do what it does well, kick butt and take loot.


 


In LFR, your NPC is generally someone like a merchant and not connected to the region in any great way. Things might be happening in a region, there might be an NPC involved, but no one important knows your name and you aren't being linked to the region in any emotional or even really mechanical way. The lack of utility from story awards is a big part of this.




??? Have you actually played any of the Dalelands adventures?


 



In LFR, your NPC is generally someone like a merchant and not connected to the region in any great way. Things might be happening in a region, there might be an NPC involved, but no one important knows your name and you aren't being linked to the region in any emotional or even really mechanical way. The lack of utility from story awards is a big part of this.




??? Have you actually played any of the Dalelands adventures?


 




Sure, TYMA too! But, this isn't true of all regions or cores. I'm just saying I can understand where people are coming from. I see good gamers sit down to play LFR and find that it seems like a disconnected mission. They wait a while, try another two mods, and still shake their heads. They compare that to the plot they were central to in LG, and they just can't feel the love.


I'm a big LFR fan, but I can see where they are coming from. For me, personally, I do want more regional feel and more of a "you are the heroes and the story is about you and you do important things". As I've said before, I see the campaign heading in that direction in many respects.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Well, we also tend to focus a bit more then might be expected based on home game experience  on the fact that the PCs are heroic level. At those levels you are hero of the local village, or the champion-of-the-day for a city or town. It is only at paragon level that you start talking with the king of Cormyr or Blackstaff in Waterdeep. Looking at some of the published NPC stats, it is only by the upper H levels that you reach the levels of experienced agents of the movers and shakers of the world.

I enjoyed the classic modules, and would gladly play them if they were available.  I enjoyed role-playing with six strong characters, often not even needing an adventure to have fun.

I also enjoy building characters and the strategy of combat, so I also play campaign modules.  A few people don't enjoy this type of game, so they've left the RPGA (or the RPGA has left them).  A rather large number of people like this style of play, and contribute to the play numbers seen today.

By necessity, the LFR style module will never be as involved as a classic adventure or home game.  For the benefit of all players, you can't mandate that you've played a particular past adventure, joined an organization, or met a NPC.  The adventure hook will rarely be something that really motivates your character.  Your likes and dislikes, your personality quirks are unlikely to be directly referenced by the module.  You will often have no connection to your fellow characters.  However, you can more easily play with different people, play anywhere in the world, and play the characters you like.

The rules were never necessary to role-play, but they are necessary to have a resolution to an adventure other than "We say we win."  The fourth edition rules do encourage a mechanical approach to resolving role-playing situations, but you don't have to use them (in your own adventures) if you don't want to.

Your likes and dislikes, your personality quirks are unlikely to be directly referenced by the module. 

Well, yes, but make sure your DM knows the more important ones and suddenly the adventure does ;)

I think as I play so few LFR events your advice is good advice -- that it's not something that is going to give me a lot of reward for my time. If I want to play a straight tactical game, I'm better off pushing around starships. The 4e encounter game isn't a bad little man to man tactical game, but for straight tactical wargames there are better choices for me. Really 4e appeals to me when there is a good story and the sense of being a part of a good team doing something heroic. I just don't get that from convention 4e games.


And I think there is quite a large barrier to new players in LFR -- it's NOT in my opinion for the casual gamer. The games are ... umm... challenging (especially for new players). You have to spend a LOT of time in character generation in order not to be criticized by the strangers you end up playing with for your poor min/maxing skills. You have to join the RPGA which makes your first game a little more paperwork intensive. You have to survive the hell of mustering to just get to a table, trying to sell yourself to a bunch of players or try to assemble a team yourself. It's just way too much trouble for what you get -- given that you're NOT going to play a lot of games. If I play 4e at a convention, I want to just walk up the table and play.


I really only got into LFR because by the time I registered I couldn't get into any other 4e games, and I wanted some 4e tips to take back to my own group (at which I mostly DM). I did see some interesting character builds, some interesting tactics in the game, and some interesting techniques for managing the complexity of condition monitoring. So it wasn't a total loss and the games were decent experiences as tactical wargames. But I just don't think it's worth another try. Thanks for all the feedback.


Given what I'm looking for (story, teamwork, puzzles, AND some combat) any suggestions for what kind of events to look for at the next Gencon?

Look for events Not run by the RPGA. Mind you, these events will be run by a single DM, not 50 or 60. He or she will probably want to play some at the con as well. This means at best there will be only 2 or 3 slots with a handfull of players allowed in each. Of course, there will be hundreds of DM's like this, so you should be able to get into games.


Really, the bottom line is pull down the event list early, decide what you are interested in, and sign up on day one.

Amy My blog http://mistimp.blogspot.com

Living Shinig Jewel (www.theshiningjewel.com) is more story oriented, but they use Pathfinder, not 4E. Other than that, no idea.


--Mav


Living Shinig Jewel (www.theshiningjewel.com) is more story oriented, but they use Pathfinder, not 4E. Other than that, no idea.


--Mav





What's pathfinder like?