Jan 10, 2017

Posted in Featured, Podcast | 5 Comments

Episode 46: Breaking the Game


This week on Spellburn, we’re going somewhere totally different.  Over the last 45 episodes, we’ve talked about many different aspects of the games:  The classes, the magic system, the mighty deeds, the monsters, and more.  In this episode, we’re going to talk about how people actually use the rules and specifically how people abuse the rules:  What players do to twist and break the game and what Judges might do to respond to those tactics!  And we’ll do it with an eye on con games as well as long term campaigns.

Links mentioned in this episode:
Angels, Daemons and Beings Between
Nowhere City Nights
Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells

Adventures mentioned in this episode:
The One Who Watches from Below
The Making of the Ghost Ring
Escape from the Shrouded Fen
Transylvanian Adventures
The Croaking Fane

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  1. I recently discovered my podcast and have been working my way through the backlog as well as keeping up with recent episodes. Keep up the good work! I really love this method of exploring what the game is all about.

    Also, I have a quick tip to share.

    I always keep a partial set of Bananagrams tiles (one run of A to Z) in my dice bag. I don’t use miniatures, but sometimes it’s helpful to establish relative positioning and these tiles are great for that purpose. Anyway, the other day when I ran a DCC funnel for the first time (Sailors of the Starless Sea, of course), I put 8 four-up sheets of 0-level characters in the middle (thank you Purple Sorcerer) and let each of my four players choose one. Then I made them draw four tiles from the dice bag and name their characters off the letters. For instance, if you drew J, Q, R, and E, you could name your dudes Jax, Quigly, Riana, and Erin. Later, when we needed to establish marching order, I just had them arrange their tiles, and the letters already corresponded to characters with no confusion because there was only one of each letter tile in the bag. Worked like a charm. Also, it speeds up the character naming process!

  2. Thanks for pimping Alpha Blue (see what I did there?)… 😉

  3. Great episode with nice tips for players and judges 🙂

    The anecdote about “offensive featherfall” is still great 🙂

  4. I hear what you are saying about not nerfing but I nerf, lol. I just limit spellburn (to +12, no luck burn to avoid corruption, far nastier spellburn table), blessing (1/2 CL+1 bonus, spell check bonus only for caster, only affects will and attack for others) and detect evil (1/3 radius; no objects/traps detected).

    The key, I think, is to present nerfs upfront before starting play. Read through the spells, figure out what works for your campaign and tamp down what doesn’t.

    I think for one shots, ya, let them do what they want. But if you want your players to run around in some massive hex map for a few dozen sessions, its ok to have limits.

  5. The way to avoid ‘nerfing’ situations is to write adventures where it’s not just mechanics between the PCs and Monsters. A lot of my adventures involve a mystery (knocking on doors in remote villages pursuing investigations) and if the PCs are missing the clues, the resolution for them becomes harder -and sometimes the PCs have completed a story, and got away with their lives thanks to tactical spell-burning and the like, but the ‘goal’ of saving the village or town is failed.