How to Explain SHARD and make it sound as intellectually/emotionally fullfilling as I think it is?

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    • How to Explain SHARD and make it sound as intellectually/emotionally fullfilling as I think it is?

      First, praise be to the gods for giving me the courage to make my first post EVER!

      Second, and the point of this post/thread, I just purchased the Basic Compendium and all the accessories (excluding those real flash dice) yesterday. Sadly, my 2IC has a dislike of "complexity" in his RPGs, which appears to stem from the large amounts of different dice in many RPG's, as well as the many, many spaces on the average character sheet. I'm fairly new to the table-top scene, in that I've read as many rule books and different systems as I could find, and also played two short-lived but extremely fun sessions of Shadowrun and an extremely interesting but poorly run homebrew DnD, my fondest memory of which being when I shot a guy through the neck from the max range of a shortbow while he was falling from a tower, followed up by setting a second tower ablaze all thanks to getting 4d6 in a row.

      Sorry about the rambling, I'm a tad nervous. What i''m asking for is any suggestions on how to explain the game and the system without putting my buddy into mental lockdown over it?

      Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

      -The Trickster
    • Haha, oh man. Yeah I do know that feel.

      It can be very hard to convey a feeling towards something you like... but the reasons for that are several:

      Your ideas of a certain thing might be vague, fuzzy.
      Try to define what exactly it is you like about Shard and work from there!

      You have different experiences than your audience.
      You experienced Shard in a certain way, or experienced other things in a way that led to enjoying Shard. Maybe you really like arabian/asian/etc fairytales and movies?
      Maybe it's the kung fu?

      It all boils down to:
      You have different viewpoints than your audience.
      How do your favorite points hold up with your audience (the person you want to show the game). Would he enjoy the same things?
      If he's a good friend of yours, you might know things he might like best about a game. Tell him what you think would excite him the most.
      The art in the compendium is very excellent as well, I'm sure that it will help him to imagine himself in the Shard universe.

      Finally, the ruleset of Shard is, in my opinion, not a very hard one.
      Sure, there's time spent reading the rules, some trial and error here and there... but that's the case with most games.

      Shard is very forgiving in it's rules and encourages you to let your imagination roam free instead.

      And in case there is something you need to know, feel free to let us know on the forums or just PM me, if you like! :)

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Sherbie ().

    • RE: How to Explain SHARD and make it sound as intellectually/emotionally fullfilling as I think it i

      Hey there!

      Like Sherbie said, you may want to mention the kind of stuff that appeals to the person you are trying to convince, especially if you think there are aspects of SHARD that specifically fit the bill... But first, and foremost, if complexity is what you want to avoid, then mentioning the fairly simplistic way that most things are resolved using the basic rules is probably the way to go...

      I think the fact that the essence of the mechanics for the entire SHARD game are fully explained in about the first 7 or 8 pages of chapter II, with lots of useful in-game examples, is a big win for attracting those who enjoy simplicity in their RPG systems...

      Everything else is character building, combat, and magic...

      Combat and magic are basically fiction/rules extensions on the essential game mechanics themes offered in The Basics chapter (chapter II)...

      And Character building can be summed up by saying that you choose the animal you'd like to be (spending the points to by it then writing the details down), then choose your profession (spending the points and noting your Skills), then you buy up your basic stats to the level you want (Strength and Agility and such), and then personalize your character by adding Talents, Advantages, Drawbacks, and any personal history that ties all that stuff together!

      The rest is all story, imagination, and creative player/game master interaction....

      As far as theme in general goes, if you like the idea of playing anthropomorphic animal heroes in an other-worldly Oriental (Middle Eastern) setting of high-flying martial arts, ritual magic, and alien environments, then this is the game for you!

      Lastly, to get a GREAT feel for what the game-play experience can be like, have the potential gamer check out some of the free-to-download, ready-to-play adventures that can be found here on the forums... This should REALLY give them a sense of how easy it is to play the game...

      Hopefully all that will go a long way toward enticing the person you are hoping will play with you...

      Let us know how it goes!

      Good luck,...and have fun!

      Scottie ^^
    • I'm glad you all are discussing this. It gives me some ideas on how to get some of the players on Furcadia interested in joining a Shard RP. I do have one advantage over some people outside of Furcadia going for a traditional tabletop setting though because players on Furcadia already embrace playing as anthro characters. Sometimes that would be the biggest hurdle.

      I think by focusing more on the cultures of Dardunah, the martial arts, and the openness of the magic system, I will be able to find players who are really interested and willing to contribute to the game. There really are not that many groups on Furcadia that offer the depth and detail to their RP settings for players to jump right in.

      My biggest hurdle will be finding players who wish to actually make use of the rules, rolling dice, and character sheets. Many of the roleplayers seem to think that online roleplay must be more freeform. That's cool for when a GM is not available, but it makes keeping track of a continuity for your game world nigh impossible.

      I'm hoping to offer players both types of RP in one place. Freeform (or persona as we call it on Furc,) and a GM run campaign using the rules, dice rolls, etc. (Strict on Furc.) The freeform area would be available for players who do not wish to join the official campaign as well as those who do at times when my or other GM time is limited.

      I think offering players a chance to enter the world without knowing all the rules outright is one way I can maybe coax a few more into joining an official campaign later on at some point.
    • Well, there's no way to really trick your players into giving Shard a try unless their open to a radical departure from most other tabletop rpgs. If your players are dead-set on playing D&D or Shadowrun, you're going to have to be very convincing and persistent.

      Most gamers are D&D players, they expect elves, & dwarves, creepy dungeons and piles of loot. That's their paradigm. If they're White Wolf players, they're expecting lots of social conflict, angst, vampires and other supernatural critters scheming like high school prom queens. That's their paradigm. If you have Rifts players, bust out the big guns and powered armor, 'cuz that's their paradigm.

      You have to alter their expectations and that's tough. What you can do is take a lot of the speed bumps out of the process.

      Firstly, pregenerated characters. Yes, yes, people want to make their own characters but if they're ignorant of the system & setting how the heck are they supposed to create balanced and functional characters? They can't so you'll end up wasting a night or two and the game might end there with players feeling frustrated and blaming the unfamiliar game. So you know the players, make characters for them or better yet the pregens and the adventure in the Dardunah Welcome Pack are good choices.

      Secondly, don't bury your players under a mountain of setting and language. It's easy to do so because you're the GM and you've fallen in love with the game so you'll be excited but resist the temptation to and introduce information slowly and allow the players to absorb it. If need be print out the first few pages of the book and have that on hand if players want to skim it or read it entirely great! Otherwise take it slow and focus on the fun.

      Thirdly, your players don't have to know the system to enjoy it. Lots of control freak players feel they need to absorb the system to learn its exploits so the GM can't take advantage of them. This is born out of insecurities caused by bad gaming experiences. Introduce the basics first, how dice are rolled and totaled and whatnot and build from there. The Shard combat and magic systems are simple at their core but there are hidden complexities and being new go Gamemastering, you'll need to learn while your players explore these systems. Take it slow, limit the content of your games so the players don't have to make lots of complex choices. This could lead to confusion and frustration and they might blame the game.

      Don't build complex content at first, take your time to explore the fundamentals of the setting. Don't put the players in the middle of epic adventures, let them fight it out with a few bandits or slavers at first and build their myth slowly.

      Let the players win. It's fun to win a few battles with enemies you outclass. Shard PCs are heads above the rank and file NPCs of the world so let them feel like they're important to the heroic groove of the world.

      Expect casualties. Combat in Shard is brutal, so don't feel you need to bend the rules to keep player characters alive.

      Don't feel you need to bust out the big gun monsters from the bestiary. Most Janah spend their lives in the cities and aren't your typical vagrant adventurers wandering from town to town like an elf ranger in the Forgotten Realms. Janah typically are attached to a household meaning they have roots and responsibilities so don't feel like you have to throw wandering monsters at the players to challenge them.

      The GM is the lens through which the setting and system are perceived by the players. Study up and learn the ins and outs of the system and setting so when your players get off track, you have answers. Don't fret about getting it right the first time 'cuz you won't. Take notes so you keep things consistent but don't feel you have to look up and confirm every little modifier. Make a decision and move on.

      Reward progressive action, gently discourage derailing actions. If the usual GM is among the players while you're gamemastering, you might have to deal with the shift in power. GM's tend to be strong willed and oft times tyrannical so it falls to you as the "new kid" to ease the transition by stepping up to the challenge and giving it your all. You might butt heads, that's only natural, but again make a ruling, and move on. You'll address the issue after the game session. If that's unacceptable take a break, get some food and discuss it.

      Which leads us to communication. Actively ask the players, between sessions, what they liked and disliked. Compare this to what you liked and dislike and try to find a compromise. Somewhere in between what you want and what they want is the right course of action. Buddha's tight/loose string analogy applies here beautifully.

      Wing it. The best plans won't survive gameplay 100% intact. Do your homework and develop material and ideas outside of and around your central plots & characters in case the players go off the rails. I call this idiot proofing because at conventions some players take special glee when they derail the GM's plans, more or less counting coup by throwing the game into chaos. Put these special little snowflakes in their place by having stuff waiting in the wings to help you put the game back under your control and not theirs.

      That's the best advice I can give. We're a friendly bunch here. Keep us apprised of the goings ons in your games, we'd love to hear/read how it goes.


    • Excellent advice Reaperwolf!

      These are all fantastic points for a first-time player of nearly ANY RPG, but certainly give great ideas for those jumping into SHARD fresh and new...

      One thing I'd like to mention (and something that even I forget to enact) concerning how brutal SHARD combat can be; don't forget that you can "tame down" the deadliness of combat by invoking the understanding that in "polite society" honorable warriors will often engage in combat meant to subdue their opponent as opposed to killing them outright...

      What this means mechanically is that instead of taking "fatal" damage, "subdue" damage will be taken, when means that, when a character reaches zero Stamina, they are simply "defeated" and not "dead or dying"...which can make a big difference in the gusto with which players enter combat, since they no longer need fear as much for their characters' lives...

      Scottie ^^
    • Agreed Scott,

      For my demo games I increase the multiplier for Stamina by +1 for player characters.This makes PCs a little more durable without skewing results too much.

      As a side note...

      For extras like the nameless NPCs I generally reduce their Stamina multiplier by 1.

      For named but expendable NPCs I use the standard Stamina multiplier.

      For important named NPCs they get the +1 Stamina multiplier.

      Another way to extend PC durability is to give them Story Dice at the beginning of the game. I call this Kharma and give each player 1-3 points depending upon the number of players:

      No Story Dice

      Sometimes when the group plays well I'll also award a group Kharma Die anybody can use so if you've expended your own personal Kharma/Story Dice you can use the group die if you need to.

      I generally award Kharma Dice pretty liberally whenever you play up a flaw dramatically.


      The post was edited 1 time, last by ReaperWolf ().