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10/11/2018 9:46 pm  #1


Player introduction package

I'm planning a game at my local FLGS with mostly newer edition d&d players (that all seem very interesting in the game). Do any of you have any player aid docs that could help with introducing the setting (what would the characters know) and some quick ref sheet for the base choices during character creation. As of now I'm the only one with the book which can make character creation take a long time so I'm looking for hand outs for players to digest (classes with prerequisits and 1st level abilities etc.) While they wait for the book to fill out the details on their sheets (I have the tables and gm sheets from the AS&S website)

Thanks!

 

10/12/2018 12:25 am  #2


Re: Player introduction package

Have you considered pregens? Five of my six players are using characters I created and seem to be pretty happy with it. Your mileage may vary but it helped me get 5 people who are completely new to Hyperborea into the swing of things.

 

10/12/2018 6:53 am  #3


Re: Player introduction package

Not aware of any new player package, but here's what I would do: brief setting intro and pregens

First, I would start with a brief setting intro (have the map out on the table too). Everyone's Hyperborea will vary a little bit, emphasizing some aspects of the setting over others. I tend to run my convention games during colder, darker years, for example. With that caveat, when I introduce the setting at a convention game, what I say has evolved into something like...

"Thanks for signing up for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, which takes place in Hyperborea, a setting inspired by REH, HPL, CAS, Leiber, Moorcock, Vance and others. Rather than dragons, elves, hobbits and dwarves, you will find demons, elder things and mythical human people - swords, sorcery and horror.

Hyperborea exists as a chunk of icy, mountainous land, ripped away from ancient Earth's surface and spinning through the void while its surrounding sea spills into infinity. A bloated, dying sun skirts the horizon, never fully setting or rising. Saturn and its rings loom in the red sky, while two moons rise and fall. A great plague wiped out almost everything 1,000 years ago and the surviving Amazons, Atlanteans, Hyperboreans, Kimmerians and Vikings, among other mythical people, never really recovered, leaving plenty of ruins to explore. These places might be guarded by alien, demonic, twisted, mutated or elder things, all hateful and hungry. At best, the gods are uncaring, and at worst, they're vengeful, so steel, sorcery and ancient technology like radium pistols offer the most reliable aid!"

It's not perfect, but I think it helps differentiate Hyperborea from something like Greyhawk or Tolkien (both of which I love). I would also probably describe any relevant map locations in the vicinity of the module you're running. For me, that was typically either seedy, dark Khromarium or the remote Crab Archipelago.

Second, I would use pregens (names, races, religions blank; equipment stocked from the starter packs on pages 128-129) and hand out pages 100-111 of Vol II, which has some info on Races (remind them these offer no mechanical differences) and Religions. If someone wants to change a weapon type from what you have down, no big deal. I made around twenty for my first convention game, photocopied them for handouts and kept the originals. It was a lot of work, but it also served to refresh me on a lot of the rules. Anyway, you might not do twenty, but at least do two for each player so that you can have a replacement ready for when someone dies. Be ready to differentiate these choices for them if necessary. A possible set might include:

Fig, Ber, Barb, Hun, Ran, War
Mag, Cry, Ill, Nec, Pyr
Cle, Dru, Run, Sha
Bard, Leg, Pur, Sco

Third, once you start playing, drop in basic setting flavor here and there, for example:

- It's cold and snowing now, so you are happy to have warm sabretooth furs.
- There's only four hours of light these days, from 10AM-2PM, and it's only the dying sun's sickly red rays.
- The last time you saw other people was three weeks ago, when some priests of a Thaumagorgan death cult wanted to trade a few diseased slaves for steel and wine.
- You can see Saturn and Hyperborea's two moons in the sky tonight, which bodes well for tomorrow's travel.
- A herd of mammoths appears on the horizon, thundering in the distance.
- You see a small patch of dangerous lotus plants just off the trail and a few red deer carcasses rotting near them.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

10/12/2018 9:00 am  #4


Re: Player introduction package

Chainsaw wrote:

Not aware of any new player package, but here's what I would do: brief setting intro and pregens

First, I would start with a brief setting intro (have the map out on the table too). Everyone's Hyperborea will vary a little bit, emphasizing some aspects of the setting over others. I tend to run my convention games during colder, darker years, for example. With that caveat, when I introduce the setting at a convention game, what I say has evolved into something like...

"Thanks for signing up for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, which takes place in Hyperborea, a setting inspired by REH, HPL, CAS, Leiber, Moorcock, Vance and others. Rather than dragons, elves, hobbits and dwarves, you will find demons, elder things and mythical human people - swords, sorcery and horror.

Hyperborea exists as a chunk of icy, mountainous land, ripped away from ancient Earth's surface and spinning through the void while its surrounding sea spills into infinity. A bloated, dying sun skirts the horizon, never fully setting or rising. Saturn and its rings loom in the red sky, while two moons rise and fall. A great plague wiped out almost everything 1,000 years ago and the surviving Amazons, Atlanteans, Hyperboreans, Kimmerians and Vikings, among other mythical people, never really recovered, leaving plenty of ruins to explore. These places might be guarded by alien, demonic, twisted, mutated or elder things, all hateful and hungry. At best, the gods are uncaring, and at worst, they're vengeful, so steel, sorcery and ancient technology like radium pistols offer the most reliable aid!"

It's not perfect, but I think it helps differentiate Hyperborea from something like Greyhawk or Tolkien (both of which I love). I would also probably describe any relevant map locations in the vicinity of the module you're running. For me, that was typically either seedy, dark Khromarium or the remote Crab Archipelago.

Second, I would use pregens (names, races, religions blank; equipment stocked from the starter packs on pages 128-129) and hand out pages 100-111 of Vol II, which has some info on Races (remind them these offer no mechanical differences) and Religions. If someone wants to change a weapon type from what you have down, no big deal. I made around twenty for my first convention game, photocopied them for handouts and kept the originals. It was a lot of work, but it also served to refresh me on a lot of the rules. Anyway, you might not do twenty, but at least do two for each player so that you can have a replacement ready for when someone dies. Be ready to differentiate these choices for them if necessary. A possible set might include:

Fig, Ber, Barb, Hun, Ran, War
Mag, Cry, Ill, Nec, Pyr
Cle, Dru, Run, Sha
Bard, Leg, Pur, Sco

Third, once you start playing, drop in basic setting flavor here and there, for example:

- It's cold and snowing now, so you are happy to have warm sabretooth furs.
- There's only four hours of light these days, from 10AM-2PM, and it's only the dying sun's sickly red rays.
- The last time you saw other people was three weeks ago, when some priests of a Thaumagorgan death cult wanted to trade a few diseased slaves for steel and wine.
- You can see Saturn and Hyperborea's two moons in the sky tonight, which bodes well for tomorrow's travel.
- A herd of mammoths appears on the horizon, thundering in the distance.
- You see a small patch of dangerous lotus plants just off the trail and a few red deer carcasses rotting near them.

I thought about offering suggestions but Chain covered everything and then some....BTW I'ma stealin' this!!!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

10/12/2018 9:05 am  #5


Re: Player introduction package

Chainsaw wrote:

Third, once you start playing, drop in basic setting flavor here and there, for example:

- It's cold and snowing now, so you are happy to have warm sabretooth furs.
- There's only four hours of light these days, from 10AM-2PM, and it's only the dying sun's sickly red rays.
- The last time you saw other people was three weeks ago, when some priests of a Thaumagorgan death cult wanted to trade a few diseased slaves for steel and wine.
- You can see Saturn and Hyperborea's two moons in the sky tonight, which bodes well for tomorrow's travel.
- A herd of mammoths appears on the horizon, thundering in the distance.
- You see a small patch of dangerous lotus plants just off the trail and a few red deer carcasses rotting near them.

This is a great Idea.  You should open a topic and allow submissions to accumulate a list of common "color" descriptions for a GM to use.  I particularly like the gall of the priests offering diseased slaves for steel and wine!!!


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

10/12/2018 9:41 am  #6


Re: Player introduction package

mabon5127 wrote:

This is a great Idea.  You should open a topic and allow submissions to accumulate a list of common "color" descriptions for a GM to use.

Good idea!

mabon5127 wrote:

I particularly like the gall of the priests offering diseased slaves for steel and wine!!!

Haha! Yeah, crap like that is probably why my games end up being funnier than I intend!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

10/13/2018 12:42 pm  #7


Re: Player introduction package

Don't forget that 2e has some pregens already created and ready to go.

Since chainsaw already did the other useful stuff for us :-)


What? Me worry?
 

10/13/2018 9:38 pm  #8


Re: Player introduction package

Don't overwhelm players with exposition. Resist the urge to bombard your players with fascinating facts about Hyperborea, especially through paragraphs of descriptive read-aloud text. Experience has shown me you've got one, maybe two sentences before players start tuning out.  

As Chainsaw illustrated, the uniqueness of Hyperborea is effectively presented through single evocative sentences that hit like a bullet to the head and bounce around in the player's subconscious for a while. 

I suggest making a FAQ for players who are interested in the setting and want to know more. I based mine on Jeff Rient's 20 questions

mabon5127 wrote:

This is a great Idea.  You should open a topic and allow submissions to accumulate a list of common "color" descriptions for a GM to use.  I particularly like the gall of the priests offering diseased slaves for steel and wine!!!

Yes, this is a good idea. I will contribute what I can. A thread full of evocative sentences that describe Hyperborea will be shamelessly mined for my own campaign. 

Last edited by Brock Savage (10/13/2018 9:51 pm)

 

10/14/2018 9:09 pm  #9


Re: Player introduction package

Picking up on pregens, one thing I've done in the past is to create an adventuring company with a wider variety of potential PCs than would normally go on an adventure.  This allows you to swap PCs in and out, rotate players, etc. as needed for individual adventurers.  They can serve as back-ups or henchmen as well.  Putting chapter houses around a campaign world gives you an easy rationale for introducing new players or characters whenever you want.  Of course players can still use their own characters, but many of the ones I design have background hooks linking them to the ongoing campaign.


"You were pumping iron as I was pumping irony."--Robert Plant
 

10/14/2018 9:26 pm  #10


Re: Player introduction package

I like pregens for higher level convention games, but there is no substitute for how much your players'll love their characters more if they roll them up themselves. 

It's just totally worth the 30 extra minutes!

 

10/14/2018 11:24 pm  #11


Re: Player introduction package

Sometimes, the best part of the adventure is character creation.


-They call me DM Angelo
My current Campaigns 
 

10/15/2018 5:01 am  #12


Re: Player introduction package

If you're playing with a group that you expect to become regulars, then sure, spend some time rolling up the PCs. I agree - that is super fun! What was described in the OP sounded more like a demonstration to me, so I leaned toward getting to the action more quickly in that case.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

10/15/2018 9:17 am  #13


Re: Player introduction package

Chainsaw wrote:

If you're playing with a group that you expect to become regulars, then sure, spend some time rolling up the PCs. I agree - that is super fun! What was described in the OP sounded more like a demonstration to me, so I leaned toward getting to the action more quickly in that case.

I love your quick start! But I'd still consider a quick group Method I 3d6 straight for the pregens. 45 extra secs tops. Best of both worlds!?!?

 

10/15/2018 9:27 am  #14


Re: Player introduction package

It is meant as a testing-the-water session where we check out if there is enough interest to make it a regular thing. I will use the excellent Waifs of Boreas file to generate some pre-gens (or even allow generation of pre-gens on the fly for late comers and spontaneous drop-ins). 

As I know some will want to generate their characters themselves and we have now 1 book among us I was looking for a short hand description organised table of character classes and their 1st level stats (short description,prereqs, hd, armor/weapon/etc allowed, saves, xp to 2nd level, special abilities at 1st level etc.) so players can take those choices and jot them down on the sheet to be filled out with details from the book later. 

I started making that myself and will post that here if that's appreciated.

     Thread Starter
 

10/15/2018 9:50 am  #15


Re: Player introduction package

Chainsaw wrote:

If you're playing with a group that you expect to become regulars, then sure, spend some time rolling up the PCs. I agree - that is super fun! What was described in the OP sounded more like a demonstration to me, so I leaned toward getting to the action more quickly in that case.

Since these are players with "roleplaying experience with newer editions" I would not skip the character creation. 

I ran a session for 8 players who never played an RPG in their lives. I considered providing pregens but decided against so the players would get more attached to their characters and get more familiar with the core of the game. We spent 30 minutes tops and got right into the action. After that experience, I shy away from pregens unless it is a con game where I know that it would be better for the scenario to have pregens. (i.e., 1. Garycon last year, I ran an AD&D game themed for Ancient Greece and I provided pregens because the main plot centered on these characters backstories. 2. My other game we spend the first of six hours rolling up characters).
I think it depends all on what you are trying to do. I lean always towards having the players create their own characters.
 

Last edited by achiriaco (10/15/2018 9:52 am)


-They call me DM Angelo
My current Campaigns 
 

10/15/2018 10:05 am  #16


Re: Player introduction package

Even if my audience was a bunch of old grogs already invested in OSR conventions, I would try to avoid wasting precious table time on character generation when it can easily be handled online with zero time pressure.

This is doubly true for players used to new editions or unfamiliar with RPGs altogether.

 

10/15/2018 7:14 pm  #17


Re: Player introduction package

Brock Savage wrote:

Even if my audience was a bunch of old grogs already invested in OSR conventions, I would try to avoid wasting precious table time on character generation when it can easily be handled online with zero time pressure.

This is doubly true for players used to new editions or unfamiliar with RPGs altogether.

We'll just have to disagree on this...
I just can't fully connect with a pre-gen  ---  It's like choosing Green for a game of Sorry.


 

 

10/15/2018 7:16 pm  #18


Re: Player introduction package

achiriaco wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

If you're playing with a group that you expect to become regulars, then sure, spend some time rolling up the PCs. I agree - that is super fun! What was described in the OP sounded more like a demonstration to me, so I leaned toward getting to the action more quickly in that case.

Since these are players with "roleplaying experience with newer editions" I would not skip the character creation. 

I ran a session for 8 players who never played an RPG in their lives. I considered providing pregens but decided against so the players would get more attached to their characters and get more familiar with the core of the game. We spent 30 minutes tops and got right into the action. After that experience, I shy away from pregens unless it is a con game where I know that it would be better for the scenario to have pregens. (i.e., 1. Garycon last year, I ran an AD&D game themed for Ancient Greece and I provided pregens because the main plot centered on these characters backstories. 2. My other game we spend the first of six hours rolling up characters).
I think it depends all on what you are trying to do. I lean always towards having the players create their own characters. 

Referees should do whatever they think makes sense based on their own experience, the experience of their players and the situation, in my opinion. Based on what the OP wrote, I'd personally go with pregens, but I can see how others wouldn't. I apologize if it seemed that I was giving some sort of universal rule on the matter because of my own preferences. 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

10/15/2018 7:38 pm  #19


Re: Player introduction package

Chainsaw wrote:

achiriaco wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

If you're playing with a group that you expect to become regulars, then sure, spend some time rolling up the PCs. I agree - that is super fun! What was described in the OP sounded more like a demonstration to me, so I leaned toward getting to the action more quickly in that case.

Since these are players with "roleplaying experience with newer editions" I would not skip the character creation. 

I ran a session for 8 players who never played an RPG in their lives. I considered providing pregens but decided against so the players would get more attached to their characters and get more familiar with the core of the game. We spent 30 minutes tops and got right into the action. After that experience, I shy away from pregens unless it is a con game where I know that it would be better for the scenario to have pregens. (i.e., 1. Garycon last year, I ran an AD&D game themed for Ancient Greece and I provided pregens because the main plot centered on these characters backstories. 2. My other game we spend the first of six hours rolling up characters).
I think it depends all on what you are trying to do. I lean always towards having the players create their own characters. 

Referees should do whatever they think makes sense based on their own experience, the experience of their players and the situation, in my opinion. Based on what the OP wrote, I'd personally go with pregens, but I can see how others wouldn't. I apologize if it seemed that I was giving some sort of universal rule on the matter because of my own preferences.

No need to apologize Chainsaw.
OP was looking for help on player aids for creation. Not sure why this morphed into pre-gen convo?


-They call me DM Angelo
My current Campaigns 
 

10/15/2018 7:43 pm  #20


Re: Player introduction package

achiriaco wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

achiriaco wrote:


Since these are players with "roleplaying experience with newer editions" I would not skip the character creation. 

I ran a session for 8 players who never played an RPG in their lives. I considered providing pregens but decided against so the players would get more attached to their characters and get more familiar with the core of the game. We spent 30 minutes tops and got right into the action. After that experience, I shy away from pregens unless it is a con game where I know that it would be better for the scenario to have pregens. (i.e., 1. Garycon last year, I ran an AD&D game themed for Ancient Greece and I provided pregens because the main plot centered on these characters backstories. 2. My other game we spend the first of six hours rolling up characters).
I think it depends all on what you are trying to do. I lean always towards having the players create their own characters. 

Referees should do whatever they think makes sense based on their own experience, the experience of their players and the situation, in my opinion. Based on what the OP wrote, I'd personally go with pregens, but I can see how others wouldn't. I apologize if it seemed that I was giving some sort of universal rule on the matter because of my own preferences.

No need to apologize Chainsaw.
OP was looking for help on player aids for creation. Not sure why this morphed into pre-gen convo?

Honestly, Those Baggley character class sketches are player aids enough!
 

 

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