What Happened to Save My Game?

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
I'm new to the forums and to Dungeon and Dragon Magazine. Recently I have been reading the Save My Game Articles, and I have loved the ideas and tips they provide to help me organize and create an efficient gaming table. Does anyone know if they will be posting up more articles soon? I want to find more tips so that my game can stop being bogged down during a battle.
I'm new to the forums and to Dungeon and Dragon Magazine. Recently I have been reading the Save My Game Articles, and I have loved the ideas and tips they provide to help me organize and create an efficient gaming table. Does anyone know if they will be posting up more articles soon? I want to find more tips so that my game can stop being bogged down during a battle.

Fantastic! I'm glad you have enjoyed them. The newest column is coming soon, and it involves advice to get players to roleplay more and have a deeper connection to the story of the game.

As for next month's column, I have a few ideas, but I really want to tackle something near and dear to the heart of the new 4e gamer. Any suggestions out there?

Oh, and remember, you can always e-mail your Save My Game! questions to [email]dndcolumn@wizards.com[/email]. I always enjoy reading the questions you all send, even if I don't end up answering them in the column, so keep them coming!
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
Hey, what are the 30 hooks you came up with? I'd like to use something like that in my games. IF I can ever get anyone together to run such a game. :P
Oh and what would you say to all the naysayers who keep saying "you can't Roleplay in 4th ed?" That's not really a save my game question so much as a "Save my 4th ed from the naysayers." (Naysayers who are acting very childish and ignorant about it. )
I often find useful advice in "What Happened to Save My Game?" though sometimes it is irrelevant to the way I play, e.g. we might use minis for 1 in 10 sessions, though we do have a lot of combat.

However, the latest one has statements I just have to disagree with - "It’s much better to have a sandbox approach to story and roleplaying."
It it a perfectly valid style, and a good technique, but it is not "much better" that having a well developed world, or an idea of an over-arching story. IMO a great campaign needs all three.

A well developed world helps players get into the mind of their characters. That form of immersion is why I play. (It has little to do with speaking in character.) It does not need a lot of work, since there are published settings, but it is fun to do.

An over-arching story (that allows the PCs to be the protagonists) allows the players to feel like their characters are real heroes, who get to deal with something major, rather just the monster of the week.


The other statement I object to is "The same is true for roleplaying. While the drama major in your group might excel, your group introvert will have a hard time with it at first."
There is more to roleplaying than acting like your characters, and being introverted can be an advantage for getting into the mind of your characters so you know how they think and feel even though they are very different to you. I don't mind that others roleplay in different ways, but I do object to the implication that by not acting in character much I am not roleplaying much. For me it is thinking in character that is more important.
Hey, what are the 30 hooks you came up with? I'd like to use something like that in my games. IF I can ever get anyone together to run such a game. :P

It was actually only seven hooks (for five players). The 1-30 refered to levels.

Here is a list of the the full list of hooks:

The Agent
Dwarf or halfling
Strange things are afoot in Eilthir. Your character is an agent of a dwarf or halfling power group from outside Three Rivers Vale; a group with its own agenda relating to its race’s plight in the region. Particulars depend on the race you choose.
Choose this background if you like to play dwarves or halflings, or if you like a character who has its own agenda and secrets that other characters can’t know.

The Ambassador
Dragonborn, eladrin, or human (not Vold or Eil)
Shunted to this edge of the Vold Empire—maybe for some slight against a powerful person in your own land—you are searching for a little excitement and maybe some way you could possibly advance your people’s influence or standing in Eilthir.
Choose this background if you want to play a character from an exotic culture with its own cultural norms, or you like characters that have to find their place in an alien culture.

The Explorer
Eladrin, elf, gnome, or half-elf
You’re an explorer looking for permanent overlaps between the Feywild and the World. You’ve heard stories about the Twilight Vale and the Mist Mage, but have yet to visit the mist-enshrouded valley or its strange eladrin master.
Choose this background if you like fey-connected characters, or you like characters driven to explore their environment.

The Hexed
Half-elf, human, or tiefling
You are cursed by a mysterious master, so mysterious that you don’t even know his identity. All you know is that his raspy voice occasionally compels you to do things, sometimes terrible things, but worse things happen when you refuse.
Choose this background if you like dark, tormented characters, or you like characters with conflicting motivations.

The Mercenary
Dragonblood, dwarf, elf, half-elf, halfling, human, or tiefling
An indentured mercenary bound to the Compulsor of Eilthir, your freedom is only two years away unless you can find a way to end it sooner.
Choose this background if you like playing a character with a strong and visceral (some might say selfish, or even mercenary) sense of purpose, or some form of exotic warrior.

The Orphan
Human (Eil)
You’re an orphan of the disappeared village of Fadail. A wandering oracle of Ioun prophesized that Fadail could only be found and reunited with Eilthir by its last scion. Presumably that last scion is you.
Choose this background if you want to play a character moved by (or struggling against) the weight of prophecy.

The Seeker
Human wizard
You’re on the trail of Rassallian of Quince, or, more precisely, the book of spells he secreted away from poor, doomed Karaius. According to the Lexicon of Nyms the Blackhanded, Rassallian was heading to Eilthir, the home of his ancestors when he escaped Karaius.
Choose this background if you want to play a scholar or a power-hungry character looking for long-lost power.

The players ended up taking everything but the Agent and the Orphan.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
Oh and what would you say to all the naysayers who keep saying "you can't Roleplay in 4th ed?" That's not really a save my game question so much as a "Save my 4th ed from the naysayers." (Naysayers who are acting very childish and ignorant about it. )

My honest reaction is to give them a puzzled look. I really don't understand the idea that you can't roleplay with a particular system. Roleplaying is something most of us (even those who don't play these games) do rather naturally. Sometimes it is called empathy, sometimes it is called troubleshooting, and often it is called daydreaming.

Roleplaying games are merely just a communal focus for our natural ability to roleplay. The rules are just a matrix to create fairness and fun through the intricacies of a game particular game system (gaming is another thing humans do naturally). I think usually when a person says you can't roleplay with X game, what they are really saying is I don't want to play that game and are searching for a reason why the game is at fault instead of dealing with the fact that they just don't like it for some other reason or the simple and very ancient fact: de gustibus non est disputandum.

Hell, I can roleplay with Wings of War or just haging out at a party. Roleplaying is fun.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
I often find useful advice in "Save My Game"... the latest one has statements I just have to disagree with - "It’s much better to have a sandbox approach to story and roleplaying."
It it a perfectly valid style, and a good technique, but it is not "much better" that having a well developed world, or an idea of an over-arching story. IMO a great campaign needs all three.

I think that having a well developed world and an idea of an over-arching story are good things to have, but I am a strong believer that a sand-box approach can make a great campaign. While you may benefit from the other two, they are not as necessary...and sometimes they can be a detriment when a DM railroads due to the development of her world and becomes a thrall to her over-arching story. Just like a good writer will sometimes have to throw out a chapter because it is not serving a story, there are times when a DM will have to throw out some campaign details and story assumptions for the same reason. Story is king, and the PCs are your protagonists.

The other statement I object to is "The same is true for roleplaying. While the drama major in your group might excel, your group introvert will have a hard time with it at first."
There is more to roleplaying than acting like your characters, and being introverted can be an advantage for getting into the mind of your characters so you know how they think and feel even though they are very different to you. I don't mind that others roleplay in different ways, but I do object to the implication that by not acting in character much I am not roleplaying much. For me it is thinking in character that is more important.

You make a good point, but when I talk about roleplaying in this context, I am mostly talking about how it affects the rest of the group. You may be roleplaying in your mind, but your fellow players can't read your mind, they have to judge by your actions. While some of us may be very good at inhabiting a role, unless we project it no one but us will know how good we are. When I talk about roleplaying, I am usually talking about projection.

That said, acting can be about the inhabiting and the projection...and it is a skill like any other. And, like any new skill, your beginning trials can be awkward...the point is you should turn down the snark with new players during that stage. Give them tips, be supportive, don't expect too much at the start, let them learn. That's my real point there.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
It was actually only seven hooks (for five players). The 1-30 refered to levels.

Here is a list of the the full list of hooks:

The Agent
Dwarf or halfling
Strange things are afoot in Eilthir. Your character is an agent of a dwarf or halfling power group from outside Three Rivers Vale; a group with its own agenda relating to its race’s plight in the region. Particulars depend on the race you choose.
Choose this background if you like to play dwarves or halflings, or if you like a character who has its own agenda and secrets that other characters can’t know.

The Ambassador
Dragonborn, eladrin, or human (not Vold or Eil)
Shunted to this edge of the Vold Empire—maybe for some slight against a powerful person in your own land—you are searching for a little excitement and maybe some way you could possibly advance your people’s influence or standing in Eilthir.
Choose this background if you want to play a character from an exotic culture with its own cultural norms, or you like characters that have to find their place in an alien culture.

The Explorer
Eladrin, elf, gnome, or half-elf
You’re an explorer looking for permanent overlaps between the Feywild and the World. You’ve heard stories about the Twilight Vale and the Mist Mage, but have yet to visit the mist-enshrouded valley or its strange eladrin master.
Choose this background if you like fey-connected characters, or you like characters driven to explore their environment.

The Hexed
Half-elf, human, or tiefling
You are cursed by a mysterious master, so mysterious that you don’t even know his identity. All you know is that his raspy voice occasionally compels you to do things, sometimes terrible things, but worse things happen when you refuse.
Choose this background if you like dark, tormented characters, or you like characters with conflicting motivations.

The Mercenary
Dragonblood, dwarf, elf, half-elf, halfling, human, or tiefling
An indentured mercenary bound to the Compulsor of Eilthir, your freedom is only two years away unless you can find a way to end it sooner.
Choose this background if you like playing a character with a strong and visceral (some might say selfish, or even mercenary) sense of purpose, or some form of exotic warrior.

The Orphan
Human (Eil)
You’re an orphan of the disappeared village of Fadail. A wandering oracle of Ioun prophesized that Fadail could only be found and reunited with Eilthir by its last scion. Presumably that last scion is you.
Choose this background if you want to play a character moved by (or struggling against) the weight of prophecy.

The Seeker
Human wizard
You’re on the trail of Rassallian of Quince, or, more precisely, the book of spells he secreted away from poor, doomed Karaius. According to the Lexicon of Nyms the Blackhanded, Rassallian was heading to Eilthir, the home of his ancestors when he escaped Karaius.
Choose this background if you want to play a scholar or a power-hungry character looking for long-lost power.

The players ended up taking everything but the Agent and the Orphan.

I can see some of these hooks working with races other than the ones you mentioned. Why could a Tiefling not be a agent of some kingdom or another for example? They are cool ideas though, all of them. I was going to ask someone in the know: When did the Tiefling and Dragonborn have their huge war and when did the Tiefling kingdom fall? I'm guessing you couldn't have a PC Tiefling who is an orphan of that war? It sounds like it was long ago and I don't think Tieflings have that long of a lifespan? I did notice that lifespans for PCs were not given in the new PHB.
The other statement I object to is "The same is true for roleplaying. While the drama major in your group might excel, your group introvert will have a hard time with it at first."
There is more to roleplaying than acting like your characters, and being introverted can be an advantage for getting into the mind of your characters so you know how they think and feel even though they are very different to you. I don't mind that others roleplay in different ways, but I do object to the implication that by not acting in character much I am not roleplaying much. For me it is thinking in character that is more important.

I disagree with that last part. If your thinking in character but act out of character your not playing your PC. If your PC does something he or she wouldn't really do how is that playing your PC? If your thinking in character anyway wouldn't you also be acting in character?
I can see some of these hooks working with races other than the ones you mentioned. Why could a Tiefling not be a agent of some kingdom or another for example? They are cool ideas though, all of them. I was going to ask someone in the know: When did the Tiefling and Dragonborn have their huge war and when did the Tiefling kingdom fall? I'm guessing you couldn't have a PC Tiefling who is an orphan of that war? It sounds like it was long ago and I don't think Tieflings have that long of a lifespan? I did notice that lifespans for PCs were not given in the new PHB.

Oh, yeah, they would work with more race than I mentioned...the confines were more for story reasons than logical ones.

The war between Bael Turath and Arkhosia was sometime in the distant past. Exactly when? Well, the PoL setting is not only one of spatial points, but also temporal ones. We are intentionally vague on the answer.

It would be unlikely that you could have a tiefling that was an orphan from that war...it was a "long time ago" after all, but in a world of magic I suppose anything is possible. ;)

Tieflings have the same lifespan as the humans they are descended from.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
Hmm I never got why Tieflings don't have a longer lifespan if they have demon blood in them. Seems to me like they'd live longer. What's the point of all those pacts if your still gonna grow old and die pretty soon? Seems very shortsighted to me. Funny even. "I've got all this power now so what am I forgetting?" :P

So do you have ideas for more hooks for PCs? I think that could make a decent article. Just give a ton of hooks for PC backgrounds. Hmm maybe even a book? Sort of a new PC builders toolkit or whatever.
Hmm I never got why Tieflings don't have a longer lifespan if they have demon blood in them. Seems to me like they'd live longer. What's the point of all those pacts if your still gonna grow old and die pretty soon? Seems very shortsighted to me. Funny even. "I've got all this power now so what am I forgetting?" :P

Well, first off they have devil blood, not demon blood. And keeping in mind that devils are mostly concerned with the gathering of mortal souls, it really doesn't behoove them to grant the boon of long life with though their pacts and nefarious contracts. Short spurts of infernal power are lure enough for the desperate and power hungry…at least that what mythology tells us. :D

So do you have ideas for more hooks for PCs? I think that could make a decent article. Just give a ton of hooks for PC backgrounds. Hmm maybe even a book? Sort of a new PC builders toolkit or whatever.

I have quite a few ideas. Maybe I will make that an article. I am working on 4 articles for Dragon and Dungeon right now, so let me get those done and maybe I'll send Mr. Youngs some more pitches.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
Well, first off they have devil blood, not demon blood. And keeping in mind that devils are mostly concerned with the gathering of mortal souls, it really doesn't behoove them to grant the boon of long life with though their pacts and nefarious contracts. Short spurts of infernal power are lure enough for the desperate and power hungry…at least that what mythology tells us. :D

Demon/devil blood is semantics. Demons vs Devils, one or the other doesn't have a longer lifespan than the other. And it actually CAN behoove you to give a mortal soul a longer lifespan if he or she is going to be a very useful pawn. Also what if the mortal soul wants a longer lifespan as part of the deal? I know I'D probably think to ask for that. What good is power if it's fleeting because I still grow old and feeble? I think when I DM Tieflings will have longer lifespans than humans or at least age far more gracefully. Are age modifiers still around? I noticed a lack of that as well.
Demon/devil blood is semantics. Demons vs Devils, one or the other doesn't have a longer lifespan than the other. And it actually CAN behoove you to give a mortal soul a longer lifespan if he or she is going to be a very useful pawn. Also what if the mortal soul wants a longer lifespan as part of the deal? I know I'D probably think to ask for that. What good is power if it's fleeting because I still grow old and feeble? I think when I DM Tieflings will have longer lifespans than humans or at least age far more gracefully. Are age modifiers still around? I noticed a lack of that as well.

Well it's not really semantics in 4E, we purposely tried to make demons and devils act differently.

And while on a case-by-case basis, you may want to keep an individual around longer, devils in the stories have never had a problem with treating the other party in their pacts like disposable pawns. From Faustus to Robert Johnson, infernal pacts have rarely meant a long and prosperous relationship between the two parties. Given that the powers of the Nine Hells actually gain power from the souls they claim (see Monster Manual page 60), they will always weigh the usefulness a pawn can be (and whether on not they can be trusted) with the power gained from their captured souls.

As for the person asking for the favor from devils, at least in the literature, long life has rarely been the first thing people ask for (and when they do, it usually backfires on them). Personal power, wealth, expansion of talent, luck with the ladies usually come first in the stories...not that those work out very well in the long run either.

Of course, feel free to change these things your campaign to tell the stories you want to tell, and to put forward those things that make the most sense to you. (Which should always go without saying…but there, I said it.)
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer
Well it's not really semantics in 4E, we purposely tried to make demons and devils act differently.

And while on a case-by-case basis, you may want to keep an individual around longer, devils in the stories have never had a problem with treating the other party in their pacts like disposable pawns. From Faustus to Robert Johnson, infernal pacts have rarely meant a long and prosperous relationship between the two parties. Given that the powers of the Nine Hells actually gain power from the souls they claim (see Monster Manual page 60), they will always weigh the usefulness a pawn can be (and whether on not they can be trusted) with the power gained from their captured souls.

As for the person asking for the favor from devils, at least in the literature, long life has rarely been the first thing people ask for (and when they do, it usually backfires on them). Personal power, wealth, expansion of talent, luck with the ladies usually come first in the stories...not that those work out very well in the long run either.

Of course, feel free to change these things your campaign to tell the stories you want to tell, and to put forward those things that make the most sense to you. (Which should always go without saying…but there, I said it.)

When I talked about semantics I meant "blood" wise. Devils vs Demons, one doesn't age differently than the other in anything I've read. They seem pretty ageless in fact. I suppose if a Tiefling (or anyone else for that matter) wanted to live longer there are easier ways than deals with the infernal. (Like potions of longevity.:-p)
I disagree with that last part. If your thinking in character but act out of character your not playing your PC. If your PC does something he or she wouldn't really do how is that playing your PC? If your thinking in character anyway wouldn't you also be acting in character?

No.
I can think in character, and have my character act in character, without speaking or acting in character.
Rather I describe what my character does, just as most people do most of the time when playing.
I think that having a well developed world and an idea of an over-arching story are good things to have, but I am a strong believer that a sand-box approach can make a great campaign. While you may benefit from the other two, they are not as necessary

I strongly believe that they are just as necessary.
A poorly developed world leads to assumption clashes which can ruin sessions for me, by forcing me out of the immersion within the character which is the greatest pleasure I get from RPGs.

...and sometimes they can be a detriment when a DM railroads due to the development of her world and becomes a thrall to her over-arching story.

A sandbox approach can also limit player choice by not providing the players with enough world details to make reasoned plans and choices.
The lack of an over-arching story limits players to short term plans, unless they can all agree on some long term goal (rare) and have enough details to plan towards than goal. It is OK if they are all playing characters who do not think long term.

Just like a good writer will sometimes have to throw out a chapter because it is not serving a story, there are times when a DM will have to throw out some campaign details and story assumptions for the same reason. Story is king, and the PCs are your protagonists.

What?
I would say story is NOT king, for precisely the reason you just gave.
The story is the servant of the PCs and has to adapt to their decisions.

You make a good point, but when I talk about roleplaying in this context, I am mostly talking about how it affects the rest of the group.

I know. I didn't like you wrote because it ignores what to me is the most important part of roleplaying, and implied that there was something wrong with not doing it that way.

You may be roleplaying in your mind, but your fellow players can't read your mind, they have to judge by your actions.

Wrong. They can judge my characters by my characters actions, which I can describe rather than act out.

While some of us may be very good at inhabiting a role, unless we project it no one but us will know how good we are.

So what. It is not a competition.

When I talk about roleplaying, I am usually talking about projection.

Yes, but projection and roleplaying are different things.
Projecting well when playing a low charisma character could be considered bad roleplaying.

That said, acting can be about the inhabiting and the projection...and it is a skill like any other. And, like any new skill, your beginning trials can be awkward...

But a RPG should not be a trial of skill.
They are cooperative games.
The point is for everyone to have fun.
If someone is having fun without projecting they are doing just as well as someone who is having fun with projecting within the game.

If you think your fun would be increased if another player projected more then there is nothing wrong with asking then to do a bit more, but they would be doing you a favour by doing so.

the point is you should turn down the snark with new players during that stage. Give them tips, be supportive, don't expect too much at the start, let them learn. That's my real point there.

"The snark" should always be turned off completely anyway.
My point is that expecting a lot of projection at any time is wrong as there is nothing wrong with playing whilst projecting little.
There are other ways to play which are just as good.
I strongly believe that they are just as necessary....

After reading your posts, I think you and I may agree more than either of us are letting. We may just be looking at this thing from different angles.

Thanks for the interesting points. I am sure it is to your player's benefit that you think through these issues.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland Pathfinder RPG Designer