My Living Greyhawk Experince...



Feb 16, 2004 8:43:02
So this past weekend I played in my first ever RPGA game. Actually it was two games in a row with the same DM. So maybe what I’m about to write deals more with the DM style, but I get the impression that I’m not far from wrong. The setting is Greyhawk, so I’m mildly familiar with the setting, but apparently it doesn’t matter beyond knowing the geography and the organizations that will give you access to certain feats.

I have to s... I was not overly impressed. I was really put more in the mind of playing a video game than actual roleplaying. Gosh where do I begin... Now maybe I'm "old school" but I like to give some credit for my love of Dragonlance for my roleplaying style. The games I played were totally devoid of any "roleplaying" at all. For me is was not very fun. Here is what I mean, this is an actual encounter during the game.

DM: “Ok you are walking along in marching order. Everyone make a spot roll. Anyone make more than a 20?”

Barbarian: “I did.”

DM: “OK you are not surprised. Roll initiative.” The DM places a carrion crawler mini on the table and says “This is not actually what it is. This is just what size it is.”

DM: “Ok Barbarian you go first.”

Barbarian: “I charge.”

DM: “Ok roll to hit DC 15.”

Barbarian: “Ok, I hit for 13 points.”

DM: “Ok it’s dead.” Takes the mini off the mat.

Me: Uhm… what did we just fight?

DM: “Oh, that was an ahnkeg. Ok moving on you continue walking in marching order.”

Arhgg… The roleplaying was minimal to non-existent. I knew the other players races and classes. But that’s it. I didn’t know their names… apparent it doesn’t matter because we never actually talked in character to each other. We only talked in character 3 times and that was to NPCs.

So in the first game my halfling monk died. I was only hit one time for 14 points. And then I was left for dead. In fact three of the four characters died. Now I have to say that I wasn’t overly attached to this character. I mean I had just made him. But I was appalled when the DM said, ok just put “jr.” next to his name and we’ll start the next game. Wha? This part of it made me think this was like a video game. Ok, start over. Lets see if you can jump these hurdles to level up your character. That holds no real satisfaction for me.

Then I was told that playing a halfling monk is just “silly”. If you want to play a proper monk you need to be a wood elf so you can get the highest bonuses and do the most damage. So my character changed to a wood elf monk. He had no background, why should he? He didn’t need one. I have to say that the guys there were being really helpful, and it wasn't them I was disappointed with, but the system as a whole.

So we jumped on to the next “mod” (I won’t say adventure) because that is far from what it was. Evidently the only connections these “mods” have are geography and the fact that a lot of people are playing the same ones. There is only a minimal amount of story behind them. At least none that seem to have anything to do with my character at least.

Overall I was disappointed with the system. The people I played with were very nice and I have to wonder if we played in a campaign outside of the RPGA would this be different. Would the player characters actually have some relationship to each other, brothers, comrades, nearly enemies, would the characters history or personality matter to ANYONE?

Maybe I’m just spoiled playing with my friends for forever and then jumping in with a whole new crew. *shrug* I don’t know. But the “Living Greyhawk” Campaign to me just seems like one big video game where it largely depends on the fighting ability of your character and the roll of the dice and that’s it. Maybe it’s just not for me.

I have to hope that if we ever have a “Living DragonLance” That we find some way to actually make “Roll” playing a integral part of the game, not just something used when talking to NPCs.


Feb 16, 2004 9:11:14

In my limited experience, I think an RPGA event really does hinge on the nature of the DM and the scenario being played through. I was at GenCon the year Living Greyhawk debuted (along with 3rd edition) and although the session I was in seemed to be a little odd, there was none of the video game mentality, at least not in the way you've described it. In fact, there was quite a bit of roleplaying going on, albeit somewhat awkward (since the party was made up of some really weird characters, including my half-orc druid).

RPGA events for such games as Call of Cthulhu have always been extremely roleplaying intensive. I imagine the real problem with your game was that the DM didn't actually care about the roleplaying aspect of the scenario at all. Sorry to hear that!



Feb 16, 2004 14:35:54
wow, kipper, that's hella lame! I'm no fan of living greyhawk myself, but the mods i've participated in have been fun to at least a certain extent. Seems like you pulled a crappy DM and a munchkined group.. That blows, dude.


Feb 17, 2004 15:20:34
I played a few sessions of Living Greyhawk and got used to bringing at least two characters to the game. The DM wasn't just unfair, he actually liked killing characters. and the game was as linear as a video game. There was no role playing at all it went like: "okay everyybody roll initiative" the monster goes first and he hits you for ten points of damage. Oh you died? roll to stabilize. next player.
Hardly anyone made it past first level so the party level was always low but the quests got even harder. The only people that survived to gain levels ran like hell and collected half experience for the quest. Everyone was so scared of dying that no one even played their characters at all. And the DM would tell us to shutup if we were talking in-game to each other. So much for role playing or creativity. If i wasn't so calm I would have socked the DM when he laughed as he killed character after character.
On the upside, some different people from my area qualified to DM and the games started looking up but unfortunately I moved.
anyone know of Living Greyhawk games around the western michigan area. specifically Big Rapids?