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1  Campaign Creation / Homebrews / Re: Great Lakes Earth Map on: September 01, 2018, 10:01:51 PM
I've modified your post to put your map inside a spoiler, since it's too big and causes issues with viewing the thread. Anyone who wants to view the full map and still has trouble should open the spoiler button and then right click the image, followed by clicking "View Image". Please keep large images contained inside of a [ spoiler= imagename ] [/spoiler] (remove the spaces) tag combination or provide links instead of directly posting them if they won't fit the width of the post.
2  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: September 01, 2018, 03:23:55 PM

sparkletwist

There are already sub chat rooms, but we have to specifically add you to the "Members" group to see them just in case we get spammers or trolls or something. So make an actual username and come join us laugh

Yeah, and to add to this, the plan I had in mind is that we'd control the creation of new chat rooms and do it on the basis of games being run, rather than actual settings.

Someone popped into the chat on Thursday or Friday evening and voiced some concerns to me, but I'm not sure who it was, so I'll post generic responses to them here:

  • You can freely change your nickname regardless of what your actual login account is, and it should remain persistent once you do - no worries about an account having a weird or random identifier in it.
  • I try to be available most of the time, but we've all got different schedules and conversations come and go. Much like the existing forum, people will respond to comments that they see when they log on or bring up new topics, and we have multiple chat rooms (with the option to create more) to span different kinds of conversations.
  • Discord was originally built for gaming chat use, so it has some built-in features that allow you to broadcast to your friends/fellow chat members what games you are playing. This is not enabled by default - you actually need to link any gaming service accounts to your Discord account for it to do this
  • We've had a pretty great turnout so far. Lots of interesting conversation on systems, setting concepts, and off-topic stuff. Hope to see more of our people join us soon.
3  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 28, 2018, 05:24:13 PM
Some updates:

Working on some core functionality for the Discord bot (dice for now; other stuff depending on what comes to mind and what people suggest).

Still evaluating our new hosting. Mixed feelings so far, but there is work left to do - especially on my part, as up until now sparkletwist has done most of the looking - before we decide if it's the right fit.

Some great conversations happening over the last couple of weeks, and some cool collections posted in the #inspirational-art and #inspirational-music chats.

If anyone hasn't had a chance to check out the new chat yet, make sure to join us using the link that sparkletwist provided in the Tavern.
4  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 22, 2018, 06:16:01 PM
So we're moving to some Wordpress hosting. Building the new site will begin soon. Just a short update, wanted to let everyone know we're still chugging forward smile
5  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 18, 2018, 06:41:13 PM

Mason

Hi guys.
 Infrequent poster here. I've enjoyed reading all of your creations over the years and sharing a few of my own things. I will miss the cbg in its current form (something about the old-internet design is nostalgic) but also looking forward to what comes next. It's weird how this site has drawn me back again and again, like a coffee shop or bookstore that is amazing (but somehow nobody knows about?) just to browse, read and relax. Thank you all for the content you have shared over the years. You're all brilliant, hope to see you on discord or wherever the cbg ends up smile


EDIT: Thoughts on reddit. I shamelessly plunder the DND subreddit, some of the content there is invaluable coming from gamers with 30-40+ years of DM experience. While most of the content from reddit seems to prescribe to the 'consume-throwaway' endless feed syndrome, there are some really amazing posts to be found. However, I feel that there are already dozens of subreddits that do one aspect of the CBG already, mapmaking, worldbuilding, GMing etc. I'm not sure a CBG subreddit could sustain numbers without regular contests/content/quality posts, which so many other gaming related subreddits already do.

The CBG wants to encapsulate all of the moving gears of campaign construction in one place (which is wonderful) while pushing for discussion on each of these topics. I am not familiar with Discord, but it seems like most of the activity here has been through the shoutbox lately with links to new posts sprinkled through out. I think it is the discussion about gaming in general that is invaluable in this community as some of the insights to worldbuilding and campaign construction are some of the most thoughtful and genuine reactions to be found.

That's all I've got haha.

Yeah, that is a fair point, and it was the counter-argument to the (semi-fallacious argument) that Reddit would make it easier for us to advertise.

At this point I think we've decided to avoid a transition to Reddit - we'll be doing some sort of new website - but let me iron out all of the details before I spout random details too much. The Discord is going pretty well so far!
6  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 17, 2018, 04:27:14 PM

LD

That sounds reasonable! Reddit obviously has failings as a true message board, but I cannot think of anything much better outside of actual forums with free hosting other than Proboards. https://www.proboards.com/  (single login for all proboard forums) AND https://www.createaforum.com/ ; have you already considered those options?

Thanks for making me aware of these, I didn't know about them. That definitely widens our options smile
7  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 17, 2018, 06:26:41 AM
I guess now is a good time to provide an unofficial update - sparkletwist and I have been talking almost every night since the original post, discussing pro's and con's of each option, and most importantly how to make the right transition without a frustrating failure (e.g. bad launch or trying to use too many services).

We've still got some decisions to make, but the possibility of a new site made with Wordpress and hooks for both the Discord, and for users to log in using credentials from other platforms such as Reddit (only if you want to) is becoming a bit of a frontrunner. The leading argument against Reddit is that our niche almost requires the ability to post the content and the discussion in the same place - which to be fair can be done on Reddit too, but maybe not as cleanly. Either platform will offer one of the other key features I'm concerned about, which is better mobile support.

Stay tuned, and hop into the Discord in the evenings if you want to talk live - we're usually around smile.
8  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 15, 2018, 06:46:58 PM
So sparkletwist has set up a preliminary Discord. The invite is here. I encourage anyone who is interested to come join us, although if it's during the day when you first log on keep in mind we might not be around, and thus might not be able to give you chat permissions (sparkletwist made it relatively strict so that you can only talk in #general-chat if you haven't been whitelisted).

This is an opportunity to see where we're going with the chat moving forward. I think we're making progress on what we want to do, and this is likely it for live chat. Please come and tell us what you think!
9  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 14, 2018, 05:45:50 PM

Steerpike

Hoers

To answer your first question, I think it's chiefly time, but also the lack of an influx of new people to participate as others become busier. It's fair to ask if we need to do a bit of soul-searching as to what it is that we are supposed to be at this point; this is especially true if we move to Reddit for example and find ourselves bumping up against r/worldbuilding.

Personally I see us as a kind of social club for a specific community of world-builders and roleplayers, rather than an organization with a unique purpose or mission. Sort of like the Bloomsbury Group or the Fraternity of Sireniacal Gentlemen but on the internet. So it's not like the kind of activity we do is really unique - lots of people make roleplaying content - but we make specific stuff that's often really cool, and which has some interesting commonalities (a focus on very detailed settings/mileus).

Yeah, that is an accurate comparison I think. We've spent enough time together that I think we've developed a nice collective approach to the questions that come up, and newer folk who join us generally fit in well. It might not be appropriate to use the term "aging out", but maybe "aging absent" is a good way  to describe what inevitably happens. Doing so is fine, too - one could argue that what we do here isn't entirely unlike the tradition of generational storytelling - but again that speaks to my desire to ensure we continue to grow (if slowly).
10  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 14, 2018, 06:56:24 AM

LD

Thank you for the thoughtful explanation and exposition, Hoers!

Also, thank you for the explanation of Discord- had thought it was primarily a voice program; good to know it's more like IRC+sometimes voice.

As a related point- what is the way for the CBG to grow? Not much is happening now obviously. Things that have happened include the following:

1-Play by Post games (traditional RPG, and things like Republic Reborn and Underdeep)
2-Settings (on forums and on the wiki)
3-Collaborative World Building (on forums and on the wiki)
4-IRC games (and rules information and organization for same)
5-CBG Magazine
6-Contests
7-Advice/Questions about world building/settings
8-Everything Else (Off Topic, etc.)

So I guess there are at least two questions from that.

1. Why aren't we doing any of that? Time? the Creators/People running things stopped doing it? Or there weren't enough participants? Or People just have different interests in their lives? If the community is dead in some aspects of its interests, then is it worthwhile to preserve anything except that which interests the people who are putting the time into preservation (e.g. what interests Sparkletwist, Hoers, Nomadic...)

2. What of the above options would we continue to use in the future that could sustain the existing community (and maybe grow it)?

It's just my guess, but assuming no additional people join the site, I think "we" might still continue the following which are unique to this community, so whatever is chosen to go forward should focus on a format that promotes the following:
1. Off Topic Discussions Real time in IRC/etc. Chit Chat
2. Occasional Live games.
3. Occasional Play by Post Game (If there is a motivated organizer and a good topic).
4. Maybe a wiki/blog by someone or a collaborative worldbuilding blog (like Steerpike's Blog (individual) or collaborative projects (like on the wiki)).

As to fulfilling those goals... maybe:
1. Reddit (static) or Discord (live)
2. Discord or Roll20
3. Reddit??? Can Discord save multiple sessions like a forum to function for play by post?
4. Blogspot, other free Blog hosting software that is linked from the site (maybe the landing site could have a RSS feed from that blog)?
5. Archive for the older things.

Best case would be maybe the site act as a landing page with live "feeds" with events and other items that automatically update, e.g. "grab" metadata from one of the other free options- so no one has to manually update things? Not sure how feasible that would be, but it would certainly be financially better to outsource the hosting of most data to the free sites.

To answer your first question, I think it's chiefly time, but also the lack of an influx of new people to participate as others become busier. It's fair to ask if we need to do a bit of soul-searching as to what it is that we are supposed to be at this point; this is especially true if we move to Reddit for example and find ourselves bumping up against r/worldbuilding. I think we're a more focused community with a narrower goal of facilitating and building the campaign as a whole, whereas subreddits like that are more of a "critique my random thing" forum (which we have done to some degree as well). I think the equivalent of the "Campaign Elements and Design" subforum has been our strong suit for a long time, even if our Homebrew subforum is as busy or busier.

As for question two, I think your list is a great one. It'd be nice to have a place to openly host all of the major settings, and that's what we're looking into (sparkletwist and I were experimenting just last night with using "flair/tags" in the test subreddit we created to see how that'd sort, and we're considering retaining a wiki regardless). That being said, I wonder if we were to condense what the community is right now if we wouldn't be able to justify something else, like people hosting their content on free cloud services (Google Drive, the Microsoft equivalent, hell even GitHub - I've used it) and linking them in the sidebar or a sticky post. Such a system would be easy enough; what I'd do in theory is create a list of everyone's settings with links (if you were around when the CBG started on the WotC forums, this'll sound familiar). The only difference is that the content might be off-site - but again, whether that's at a wiki we host or individual accounts elsewhere remains to be seen.

I'm not sure yet what the extent of Discord's logging is. I know that Slack only stores the last 10,000 messages (or something like that) unless you buy a premium subscription, so if we moved there we'd do that. I think the Discord/Slack train of thought may end up being better suited to a replacement for the IRC chat and shoutbox. This is a key component either way though, because as we've collectively alluded to a few times already, having multiple games running is important to jumpstarting activity here.

Steerpike

LD

Why aren't we doing any of that? Time? the Creators/People running things stopped doing it? Or there weren't enough participants? Or People just have different interests in their lives? If the community is dead in some aspects of its interests, then is it worthwhile to preserve anything except that which interests the people who are putting the time into preservation (e.g. what interests Sparkletwist, Hoers, Nomadic...)

I suspect that a lot of us got started on the site in our teens and early twenties and are now in our late twenties or thirties or older, and so free time has ebbed as careers and personal lives developed (I was 20 when I first joined, am 30 now).

Moving to Reddit might well provide at least a gentle bump in membership, and we could build some presence in the bigger D&D/RPG subreddits. A couple of my posts in those subreddits have garnered in the region of 15,000+ views, and those numbers aren't all that unusual, so there's definitely an active rpg community. D&D is going through something of a renaissance for a bunch of reasons.

I do feel like maybe as a community the CBG should do something to mark the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. If we get a Discord, it might be cool to have an inaugural voice chat. I have often been curious as to what everyone sounds like.

More or less - as an anecdote, when I started posting here I was hammering out angsty content for the setting known as Vilydunn, then Haveneast, then a sci-fi one, and a bunch of offshoots and system concepts, but I'm 30 now, engaged, and pursuing a master's as well as working full-time, so if even a portion of us are taking similar paths then you're on the money as to what's happened. That's not a bad thing per se, but without the influx of new players who might have more time to inspire and encourage new posts and games, it's up to a dwindling number of people to keep things busy.

You're thinking what I'm thinking Steerpike. Reddit still isn't our choice of platform yet, but I think there we'd be in a good position as a quiet complement to r/worldbuilding and the related subs - the Saturn to its Jupiter, or something like that. There'd be a lot of opportunity to gain members via people who've found them and felt the subreddit was a bit too chaotic and unstructured (i.e. the reason I'd never suggest we actually migrate to their sub). Plus, we could always arrange cool Q&As and other activities with subreddits that could have a lot of useful information for our campaign builders, like r/AskHistorians and r/AskAnthropology.

I'm always down to chat. clomp comp whinny
11  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 13, 2018, 06:09:40 PM

LoA

Eh I don't know how I feel about Reddit. I don't like the idea of being open to everyone like that. I know this site is on its legs and all, but I like how cozy it is. I like the smallness of this community. I never want to be on another format with thousands of subscribers.

That's essentially what it is now, though; you just don't see new registrations anymore. If you look at the Members list, there are about 660 registered accounts, hardly any of which actually posted a significant amount. We have the same administrator abilities at Reddit (or similar platforms) as we do here (there's actually arguably more because we can see users' post history and even implement an approved posters list if we had to).

Furthermore, a major part of the reason why we even want to move is because it's difficult to justify maintaining the website in its technologically-outdated form, for the monthly cost, given the low user base. Frankly I'd like to see it return to the 2010-2012 period, where there were 2-3 active campaigns at any one time, and I'm pretty confident that the best way to do that is to tie it into a more modern platform with better tools for users to get the word out. I don't think having to deal with thousands of users is a real issue.

sparkletwist and I are working on a demo subreddit that we may be able to show off soon, so that everyone can get a first look at how such a transition might function. I'll use some of my old Haveneast stuff to fill a post or something as a better example for a long thread.
12  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 13, 2018, 09:13:55 AM

Kalos Mer

Dormant member that I am, I won't venture to vote on what the community does next.  I will say I'm sad, in general, about the decline of the traditional forum, as I believe its format had some unique charms and advantages that more modern modes lack.  My own heyday was in the 2004-2006 era on the old Wizards board and here, and I can't imagine doing the kind of stuff I did then (5,000 word posts on, I dunno, orc religious rituals) on Reddit.  That said, long content posts don't do a bit of good if there isn't an active community to read them - so if change is necessary to stabilize and grow that community, it's probably for the best.  I'll follow wherever you go, and try to be a little more active than I have been in the past decade.

What is the timeframe proposed for shuttering and archiving the old site and moving to a new one?  I ask because I want to personally archive my material that's on the site but I'll be travelling for a wedding (mine) for the next week.  Should I pencil in time to do my archiving tonight before I fly out, or will the board as it is still be here in a couple weeks?


I don't see us making a move for 2-3 months, and there will be a transition period where both sites are up simultaneously. No worries there smile
13  Announcements / News / Re: The Future of the CBG on: August 13, 2018, 05:57:54 AM

LD

Sorry to hear; not surprised though. Also suspect that the costs are relatively high for hosting the remaining data.

Would the Domain stay? I think that is a valuable part of the site- being able to type that in and go direct rather than through some sort of "Reddit" seems valuable.

The most valuable part of the world-building kit that the CBG has that no other site has (that I know of) are the canned special formatting tools, the

In Character

In Character
and

Out of Character

Out of Character
and floating note box.

Note

Floating Note box

That formatting made creating worlds here like laying out a PDF. Obviously though, I have not posted many new settings in recent years.

I doubt I would use the site (other than to read an occasional post) if it was solely on Reddit- it lacks those world building tools and is frankly ugly, whereas this site is elegant.
I do not know much about Discord. Does it require you to link it with other social media? How does it work?

Quote

Using both is also an option, of course, although not deciding on a definitive new home for our community is probably not the best thing if we're trying to keep a solid community together.
Couldn't you use both and have this website be a "portal" into both- have the landing page, have the wiki, have a reddit, have a discord/IRC with the running chatbox as a supplement and lose the active forums, which I suspect are what costs the most... The reddit could be used as a written announcement for when things are happening on the discord, or when someone wants to announce that they've posted something on the Wiki, or to request access to the Wikis?

Another idea, if some people here run games on Roll20, or have an open lobby on Roll20, you could have a link to a CBG "Roll20" Lobby or get-together with posted times for gaming.
I would tentatively be interested in participating in games like Fiasco! and some of the avant garde one shot indie games. Timing obviously will be a problem though.

Quote

so the current setting threads that exist on the CBG will probably have to be hosted on an external wiki,
If that is done... maybe give some thought to the "rights" issues. On certain external wikis, the rights revert to the wiki host rather than the person who posted the settings. As I recall, back in the day that was an important point and it certainly would present some issues to be throwing some peoples' work into the public domain or other people's ownership without their permission

Toward the archive issue: Would you be hosting the data from certain boards in a static form- e.g. the data from the Campaign Creation subforums? Personally, I think everything else could probably go zap (with the possible exceptions of Contests and Fantaseum), but those subforums are special.

Thank you for your service sparkletwist and Nomadic for the hosting (and Ishmayl before you!)

I'll be keeping the domain regardless of what we end up doing - this was initially so that we could return to a discrete website if we someday end up with a much larger userbase again, but you raise a good point about redirecting.

The unique formatting options will be missed, but I think there are options to get around that at least with Reddit (quotation blocks, etc.).

I am not terribly familiar with Discord either but I've used it - if we moved to it we'd start looking like several linked chatrooms (you'd be able to create one to discuss a topic or setting).

Things are definitely still up in the air as to what solution we're going to use, and we want to take our time with the transition so as many users as possible are aware, and so that we pick the right combo. I'll look into using the current webpage as a redirect for one or both services. The big issue right now is finding the best way to continue supporting people posting settings into what is currently a forum thread. I think this'll work on Reddit with a few growing pains, but we'll trade out ease of user control for a little more mod management in order to do it.

Nomadic is currently looking into archiving all of the data based on the current state of the database. Depending on what he finds and what he can pull it down in, we might take the entire site and strip out the unneeded stuff, or if it proves difficult, then what I might end up doing is writing a web scraper specifically for the site and notify everyone via email/private message to list everything you want saved. I know there are a lot of users who haven't been around in years, and even those of us who are still regulars have dead projects (just look at my history), so when we make that decision it could quickly end up that a lot of people don't have that much they want to save.

As for your blog Steerpike, Nomadic did mention that he had other stuff hosted, and I can't recall if it would be affected by this (EDIT: it might) but you should confirm with him anyway (I'll ping him too).

An additional note about all of this: when I floated the topic of a transition with sparkletwist and Nomadic, my vision for the near-future was a three-way split of the existing service into:

1) A subreddit (for the "Campaign Elements and Design" and "Dragons Den" type conversations)
2) Discord or Roll20 (for Q&A, active discussions among small groups, and games)
3) Possibly a Google Drive or other cloud service for storage of some stuff

Again though, we don't want to end up muddying the community by doing so. My goal through all of this is to find an alternative that is as simple to use as possible while also allowing people to create and post content in mostly the same way we do now. I have some ideas, but I won't broadcast them until they've actually been tested.
14  Campaign Creation / Meta / Re: Dark Souls as a Table-Top (or Chat-Based) RPG on: August 03, 2018, 05:55:48 PM

sparkletwist

Yes, that answers the question, thank you!

Saying a grid is pretty much essential is an interesting divergence, though. The game as presented didn't have one, and even D&D doesn't strictly need one although positioning and ranges and such can be trickier without one. It seems like it could be the sort of thing that slows the game down, which is, of course, not good. Fate uses "zones," which allow modeling distances abstractly, and also including certain areas that have various battlefield features or hazards. I wonder if using zones and then using the distance between zones to determine range wouldn't be a worthwhile compromise.

It might - it would probably be a nice balance between the hardcore grid aspect, and more abstract combat - you know, keeping enough crunch to the maneuverability to keep different abilities and decisions distinct.

I'm trying to think of a more familiar parallel to describe the two extremes. It's almost like difference combat stances - at one extreme, you have what is essentially a barbarian rage - higher damage output, more frequent hits (possibly with consumable weapon buffs like fire, lighting, or poison "pine resin"), while on the other you have a full defense option that allows you to make AoOs after a few consecutive blocked attacks. There's also the parry option, where you can cause a "severe stagger" that gives you the option to do a high-damage crit (with a brief window - probably equivalent to a single round) or do something else like drink a potion, retreat, etc.), while the advantage in theory of being super aggressive/opportunistic (although not explicit to this tactic) is to cause stagger in an opponent, which stops their attacks mid swing and/or opens them up to more hits. Massive strikes (big weapons or other explosive/high impact spells and items) tend to knock people back and off their feet.

Somewhere in the middle you have the "combat aid" roles where miracle-based casters are doing some heals/buffs, sorcery-based casters are lobbing soul arrows/spears (think of them as magic missiles or lightning bolts that can be dodged), and pyromancers that are lobbing fireballs and/or poisonous clouds (the former are fire projectiles with small AoEs, some leave lingering pools of lava). All three could be mixed into melee/ranged combat engagement.
15  Campaign Creation / Meta / Re: Dark Souls as a Table-Top (or Chat-Based) RPG on: August 01, 2018, 08:33:52 PM
I think that would be a good way to provide a top-level interaction in combat. When I think of what made Dark Souls combat for me, I think about the PvP and how aggressive it made me - as a perpetual invader (i.e. try to ruin peoples' day as they try to get through an area for covenant rewards), I think about the all-out aggressiveness strategy I took, where I'd get repeatedly right in someone's face at the risk of taking extra hits just to spook them and make them scared of every swing I made. I also think of the other extreme, where some players will get a high-defense shield and just "turtle" behind it and take jabs when they can. A lot of it comes down to positioning - meaning a grid is pretty much essential for a TTRPG - where various consumables/buffs are implied through cast/use times to require "space" during combat to use. "Primary actions" in combat revolve around this kind of posturing, or around mutually-familiar enviroment/enemy placement (again, a product of the "time is convoluted" gimmick where each character is from one of multiple timelines that see essentially the same layout) to gain an advantage.

Does that answer the question?

Magical movesets are basically special high damage/high reach/high AoE attacks that cost mana to use without a damage penalty. If you have enough mana, the attack goes through (provided the enemy is within range). If not, it usually still works but barely does any damage. If it's instead a "buff" or something, it just fails. At least in Dark Souls 3, this was a combination of "unique to the weapon type" and "one-off weapons having weird abilities". In practice, that'd probably translate to weapon classes having special moves, with legendary weapons of heroes/villains/ubermonsters having special abilities. I call them "magical movesets" because some iconic ones would imbue the specific weapon with fire/lighting/magic damage for a short period rather than having an explicit special attack.
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