Business As Usual


Running a business is hard work. This is doubly so if you are moonlighting as a dragon killer for the local duchy on the side. How are you to make sure the horseshoes and armorare mended when you're sitting on the side of a mountain, waiting for the red dragon to leave? While running a campaign, it will become inevitable that one of your players will want to start a business or own some property. As they grow in power, prestige and wealth, they're going to want to have an impact on the world. Becoming a member of the local chamber of commerce is a good way to do that.

Running a business is hard work. This is doubly so if you are moonlighting as a dragon killer for the local duchy on the side. How are you to make sure the horseshoes and armor
are mended when you're sitting on the side of a mountain, waiting for the red dragon to leave? While running a campaign, it will become inevitable that one of your players will want to start a business or own some property. As they grow in power, prestige and wealth, they're going to want to have an impact on the world. Becoming a member of the local chamber of commerce is a good way to do that.

The players are going to have characters with a lot of wealth eventually. There is only so many swords and potions they can buy and carry. They will want to have somewhere to store a lot of this gear. The first thing players will want to do is purchase property, a house or small hovel, to store all that stuff in.

These properties can lead to all sorts of interesting problems. As the players are probably going to be the toughest guys around, locals will probably come looking for them rather than the magistrate. This can lead to interesting adventures and sub plots where the players must deal with either a problem that's too much for the local forces, or deal with a magistrate who feels their characters are stepping on his turf. This is a matter of jurisdiction, so the magistrate might find the characters are making them look bad.

Another problem for players is just leaving all this stuff in an unattended home. The players might have to hire someone to watch their stuff while they trek all over the land fighting evil.

These hirelings can also be a source of adventure, as they will have lives and problems of their own. Perhaps the maid you hired to keep the place tidy is in trouble because her husband owes a lot of money to a local gang. She turns to her employer, the mighty hero to help. Another problem may be the villain of your current campaign has kidnapped her, holding her for ransom unless you return the Tome of Unreasoning evil.

Now aside from the problems of the neighbors and the staff, property also has some economic problems that should be kept in the game. These include repairs, property taxes, and general cleaning costs. All of these must be paid, and can also lead to adventures. Perhaps the local duke who the players pay property tax to doesn't want their money, but needs them to help him with a little problem.

The thing here is to remember this property will also become pretty dear to your players, as it will be a valuable possession. Be careful about destroying it or damaging it unless it serves the plot and the player understands that.

Businesses are even more complicated than property. Staff will almost always be necessary if the business actually resides somewhere. The costs of materials and equipment will be very large, unless the players are able to acquire them some other way. This still doesn't discount repair and maintenance of equipment. The economics of business should not bog down your campaign, but be sure to keep them interesting enough to make the world seem alive. Have the players return from an adventure and have them deal with issues at the business. The other players may get a few days rest, but that player will have to review inventory lists, check orders, and balance the books.

A business can be a good source for adventure, and really shouldn't take over the campaign unless all the players are interested in supporting it. I once ran a campaign where the characters were a mercenary-for-hire business. They had an actual office and staff they had to be in charge of and manage. They would have to juggle jobs with costs and other problems that would arise from their business. A major portion of the campaign involved a rivalry with another mercenary company in town and their attempts to secure work. It wasn't uncommon to find themselves hired on one side of a dispute, and the other company hired on the other.

It was an entertaining campaign, but it only worked because all the players were into the idea. They originally came to me with an idea of being in a business together. We juggled the idea around and came up with something everyone liked and went from there. This could be any kind of business, but I figured it would be easier to try this out with something that was still adventure oriented. Feel free to experiment with what your characters do, as long as all your players are into it.

Property can also be a great reward for a completed task. Large estates were often rewarded during the middle ages to local supporters of the monarchy. Remember that bestowing large swathes of land to your players is going to bestow on them all sorts of problems. There is the problem of security for anyone living on the land, maintenance of those lands. Also the players will have to figure out how to maintain standing forces their to be called to aid the monarch who bestowed the land.

Inherited property can also be a great adventure idea. This can be doubly true if the property in question has problems with it. The nice old house that was left to the players happens to reside over an ancient family crypt that is currently infested with zombies, or a local goblin tribe has taken up residence on the acres of forest left to you from a departed uncle. The players will be held responsible for the problems on these properties and will have to clean them up before they can be put to any use. In these cases, the property is the reward for the adventure.

I try to stick to the rule that the world is happening all the time around the players. Property and business are part of that world, and it's good to have them as options for the players to experiment with. But always remember all actions have repercussions. Owning a piece of property or a business is a responsibility with costs and problems associated with it. The player should understand what these are and be willing to take them on. Of course if you're a mean DM, you can just saddle them with a piece of property and let them work through the issues later.

Err..... I sort of agree with you.... up to a point !

These are goods hooks to hang plots on..... but unless your players are frustrated Entrepreneurs, this could get too much like real life. I go to D&D in order to escape the mundane.

Having said that, I agree with you that its worth injecting a certain amount of realism into the campaign, so that theres a link between actions and consequences.

Heh .. I just thought of a great plot for an adventure. Feel free to use it anyone. When your players are looking for a home, sell them a big old house / castle that exactly matches there needs. Make the deal sweet, the current owner needs the money in a hurry and is willing to settle for half the market price. Only, when the players move in, they find that there are a number of sitting tenants who just don't want to be evicted !

Err..... the above poet was mine. I keep omitting the Name.

Thats Post not poet. Wake me up someone !

I think you are on the right track with your example. The party should get some value out of the deal, but have to pay for it somehow.
In my game, one of the players is a river/coastal trader, so he has a sturdy boat, and space in a wharehouse. But he has debt to pay on the boat, and rent on the wharehouse, so if he takes time off for adventuring, the adventures better be profitable, or he risks losing his assets. He has more stuff than other players, but he also has more responsibilities, and more to lose if he shirks them.



I don't really see the intrigue of role-playing a business. It reminds me of the marketing class I took in college where you PRETEND to have stocks. You have to watch your imaginary stocks over a six week period, weeee...

I think character equipment, supplies, spells, etc. is enough to worry about in a game WITHOUT the business portfolio.



I'm not saying this is a totally stupid idea...

Its just not my cup o' tea.


Hi John, & Mystic Assassin,

I think it all depends on whether one or more of the players get a kick out of it, and if the DM is willing to put in the work to administer it. Probably, only one of your players may enjoy the business person role. In which case you will have to create adventures that cater for the whole party as well as the business person.

I think that it is easiest to make it fun for everyone, by linking the business directly to the adventuring, and any administration should be kept to a minimum.

In Johns example, for example, your player might find it much more fun and profitable to use his boat in his adventures. Its possible to have any number of sea and coastal based adventures, with trading and cargo included, like sinbad the sailor. Another famous example of trader/warriors is the vikings, who would sometimes pillage on the way out and sell their loot on the way home. They were also into mercenary work, stealing maidens and taking over other peoples real estate.

Yeah...that makes sense.

It goes back to that 'all-important' subject of game balance. If the GM can balance the game between business and pleasure. However I would be worried that the business end would still have too many details to deal with in-game.

I guess the business-man and the GM could bluebook it...


Mohammed and Mystic Assassin (M&M),

Oh yeah, absolutely only do it if it's fun - and so far it has been. And, as Mohammed suggests, the boat has certainly been used for adventures, with an eye for trading at the same time. But with 7 passengers there is less room for cargo (it's a small boat).

We do keep the details to a minimum, no bills of lading, or invoices, just a set monthly expense he needs to cover, or risk the wharehouse space and boat. The Business involves some bluebooking, and about 10-15 min of game time when he makes some sort of trade related decision (hmm, should I stock up on Battle Axes, or salted fish this trip?).

The rest of the party doesn't mind, everyone likes having a boat available (faster travel etc.) and a couple of PCs have slept on the wharehouse floor between jobs. It's sometimes good to have responsible friends.

This is the first time we've tried this, but it is working great so far.


That's cool...

I like the 'boat' idea, especially for the game I'm currently in. For the most part the game was taking place on a large continent. So, most travel was by horse or caravan. However, my comrades and I manage to get ourselves in a bit of trouble with pretty much EVERY major territorial power spanning the entire continent.

So, in an effort to place our party in an environment free of poisoned-goblets and bed-vipers. We skip town and leave the country via a merchant ship, to a large chain of islands to the southeast (more tropical locale). We've taken up treasure hunting and work directly for a wealthy heiress (elderly) who owns a museum.

So, we've settled nicely into a career of history, research, business(a little) and some good-old-fashioned underwater dungeon crawls.

Life is good...

Hmm...we still need to buy a boat, though.


who said anything about buy ?

Why be popular in the islands ? For Maximum Mayhem, I suggest stealing a boat from the local pirates.

Remember, an adventurer is judged by the quality of her enemies.


lol...I prefer anonymity. Besides, most of the 'battle-class' ships in this game are armed with catapults and such...

Great article amp, and some nice boat ideas chaps.

I love the idea of PC businesses in a game. Running them provides so much more background detail to the game world that the setting really comes alive for me.

The most memorable business I remember being involved in was when my unscrupulous PC became infected with lycanthropy. I returned to my hometown for a cure but got greedy. Along with a local blacksmith PC we bought up all the silver we could and started making silver daggers in a rented forge.

The next week people started discovering dead, half eaten livestock, wolf tracks and even had an occasional werewolf sighting.
Over the course of a week the hysteria grew, our silver daggers sold like hotcakes and we made out like bandits.

As you'd expect, we got discovered, shunned, hunted and ended up losing my chance for a cure and the respect of our community and families. So probably a loss overall.

Ah...the 'green-eyed' monster...

My GM always likes to provide us with greed-heavy choices. He arranges it so that we meet someone who has valuable information, regarding a particular 'bad-ass' item/weapon/whatever. But the person will only give us the info if we GIVE UP something in return. One of the worst actually wanted some of our 'essence' a.k.a. stat points...or even LEVELS!



Creating economic charts for the campaign: 2 hours

Letting PCs nurture a business into a success: 7 months

Telling the PCs when they return from a mission that their business was destroyed by their worst enemy and watching them collectively fail about like monkeys as they plot their revenge: TIMELESS

You are an evil person. And I mean that in the best possible way.

The most interesting business deal I did in D&D was once when I captured a small warband of 100 orcs. I sold them back to their chief at 1gp per orc, plus 1gp per orcish equipment. start of a beautiful relationship. I traded a lot with those orcs. Sold them weapons, beads, colored cloth and whisky in exchange for human slaves stolen horses and equipment. Mans gotta make a living.

I made a living one game: removing Riathenor Armor from their hosts and repairing the physical and psychological trauma it caused...

Once we perfected the technique...cha-ching!

I like the kernel of your idea, but not so much the execution. In my games, the rewards take many forms - deeds to land, rare wines, tapestries, a festival in their honor, titles and so forth. Players may participate in businesses as "silent partners", except for their Adventuring Company, which they are active partners in, and may the pool resources of treasure they salvage (and they may swap from a few characters in the company).

I uses these things to the extent that they help color the gameworld and root the party to it. It's much more compelling adventure when you know the people around you, when you have a house or inn that you built and where you are always welcome.

When these things are threatened, the threat is felt more acutely. And when the adventure is over, there is a sense of returning to a pleasant and wonderful place, even if it is very simple. Either way, a rich sense of locale is built - even if that local is just a home or a town.

But I draw the line when managing these things turns into resource management and tedious bureacracy. D&D is a game of heroic adventure. If the stuff I introduce into the game is turning my players into bean counters, then I am off track.

Nephandus, I agree on all points (sincerely). There is a fine line between creating detailed atmosphere and dreary gameplay. We all encounter this as gamers and acknowledge it as part and parcel to the hobby. This creates an opportunity to develop and referee a rich continuity, which (as Goldilocks would say) feels juuuuuuust right. Perhaps a few gamers do enjoy number crunching game sessions dedicated to economic engineering, but for the most part, I would guess otherwise.

Your second and third paragraphs are the essence of an enjoyable campaign setting (at least for the majority of gamers out here). You describe the kind of gaming many others and I would be delighted to take part in for years at a stretch. Here's to rich and adventurous stories!

hey guys,

are we like the ONLY people visiting this site lately?

Yes its gone a bit dead. We need more threads, problem is, while I have loads of experience, I just can't think of an original topic.

I sent one, but they may think its not long enough, good enough, etc.

I dunno...


Business As Usual is Men At Work's best album. That's all I have to say about that.

[Sings] You must come from the land down under,
Where beer flows and men chunder, Can you hear, can you hear the thunder? Because I come from the land down under!

How's this thread, speaking of RPG business.

I want an article (not a rant) written about the state of the hobby industry with some real numbers offered. We need detailed facts that give us more insight than what the convention booth people are telling us. I was writing a huge piece on the effect of 3.0 and the OGL on the industry when everything I had been quoted started smelling funny. Information went belly up. The more I researched, the more I found out that no one had a clear picture of what the hell was going on. I know a lady named R. Monahan who was a co-founder of WoTC. I graduated with her sister and e-mailed her that I thought that the OGL was brilliant and that I was writing an article defending its effects (something I now find debatable to a SMALL degree). "Great" she replied. But every figure she directed me to was a crock! I can't find an accurate market-share analysis, or financial reports that back the projected earnings these gaming companies so readily spew out. I'll give you an example of what I pounded against (I debated between White-wolf and WoTC and decided on the more recognizable. I can Email anyone info on several gaming companies).

In 1999 Wizards of the Coast was sold for more than $325 million to Hasbro Inc. Some funky stuff occurred when Peter Adkinson left and Hasbro turned the reigns over to Loren Greenwood (now EVP/COO of Wizards of the Coast Inc.) This guy has Disney marketing in his background, and has been notorious for fudging the numbers. He's an artist at it. They (Hasbro marketing) explained to me that Hasbro mixes its sales figures within its three separate divisions. Therefore, Star Wars, Pokemon, and other licensed merchandise sales are added into their financial reports as one big sum.

What is the worth of WoTC division now? Beyond it's $325 mill. price tag? Less than? Go ahead and write Hasbro at:

Wizards of the Coast
Attention: Market Accounting
PO Box 707
Renton, WA 98057-0707

Do they give you the run around? Probably at first. Then, when you do get some figures, see if their numbers match up. The sum they give if far less than the “breakdowns” total. Someone's lying.

If you're thinking, "well, guess the OGL isn't doing them any favors and they're losing money," then you made the same mistake I made. The WoTC Inc. division is doing so well that it's being used to float other Golden Goose divisions not holding their end up. What's burning them up is their affiliation with Nintendo America. Having angered the great beast that is Sony, the Pokemon license is actually being lifelined by good ol' fashion table gamers (both RPG and CG).

So what is my point? Some would say it appears that the RPGaming industry growth has leveled somewhat. In a way, that is correct. However, it has branched off into a slew of successful (and expensive) MMORPGs and console games. As tabletop consumers, we're still a lucrative deal. But it is nothing compared to the video game giant that is in hyper-growth. Often, this highly fluctuating growth is bankrolled by tabletop industry revenues, as it is with WoTC. And why not? If the game goes hot, there's a lot of money to be had. I would love to see an article, complete with accurate figures, devoted to mapping the direction and relative health of our hobby industry. I apologize for the length...


I promise to read your post LATER when I'm NOT at work...


okay, here's a topic about the hobby industry...

"HERO-CLIX is a crock."


I tried Hero-clix once

I didn't like it. This might have been because there was not a large collection to choose from at the time (we were only trying it out), but it just didn't seem fun after a while.

Maybe the inevitability of who would win a match (Juggernaut is nigh unstoppable...which is appropriate I suppose).

Wha... did... did you just yawn in my general direction? HOW dare you?! Mr. Assassin... (taking off the sunglasses) I'm going to enjoy watching you die... (turning my head until neck makes Rice Crispy noises)

Now, out of spite... and though I've never purchased a single one... I shall defend the merits and superiority of HERO-CLIX!

1. Cool Name! Just let it roll out... HEROOOO-CLIIIX... oh yeah.
2. Psylocke... heeyy, how you doin?
3. If I invest in a couple, I won't have to play another Magic: TG with the 45yr. old, single guy who has mortgaged his house to buy every boxed series ever released.
4. Did I mention how cool it is to say HERO-CLIX?

AHA! I... REST... MY... CASE! (...throbbing genius...)


I'm fed upwith Marvel comics. They've gone too commercial. Its all about selling toys, films, cartoons on TV stations. There are no longer any new story lines, no real character development. I've bought comics from the mid 70's. over the next two decades we had real innovation in characters, each with her/his distinctive style and developing storyline, but since the mid-90's I feel the characters have almost frozen. creeping commercialism I call it.

Mohammed aka The Human Rant aka Rantboy ( not to be confused with Rent boy)

Mohammed...try reading 'The Authority' its...different. dare challenge me? *flips cape to the side*

You shall long regret this...fool! *does some quick warm-up stretches*

1. 'Rice Krispies noises' is RIGHT! HERO-CLIX just sounds like the 'Malt-o-meal' version of a popular breakfast cereal.

2. How stupid is it that you can hide inside a pile of boxes, jump out and attack someone, then get BACK in the damn boxes and nobody (in game) knows where you are?

3. Investing in a couple means you WILL play with a bunch of 45-yr-olds...and ye may be victorious. But you inevitabley be spanked by some 8-yr-old Pokemon master who began playing HERO-CLIX after first getting bored with both Pokemon AND that damn Yu-Gi-Oh as well!

...and NOW for the FINAL blow!

*charging up and grunting like a Dragonball-Z character...this may take a while.*

YOU have dreadful cuticles! HA!


Ray Park is God. He was ace as Toad and will become a massive star when Iron Fist comes out. Believe me. That is all.


Do you have any idea what you just did? You just made references to RELIGION and SCIENCE-FICTION in the same sentence...a simple sentence. And made it sound so...natural.

That's...kinda creepy.


Damn You! My brilliant plan for world domination has been thwarted. I shall rebuild my cuticles, take your wisdom to heart (silly rules indeed), and return when you least expect it!

*holds injured arm while escaping down some dark tunnel*
I shall return... Cobraaaaa!!!

Hey Mohammed, I've noticed that comic books in general have taken a dive. You really have to dig through the independents to find something good, and even then, it's so obscure that you can't share a conversation with anyone based on the comic. I tried the D+D comics, and these are just a joke. I miss the days of young Jim Lee and Chris Claremont. Neil Gaimen and Art Adams. Man the 80's and early 90's rocked.

I think when the western market began to be exposed to the superior Japanese manga, there was this collective flushing noise of American and British (ok, and Cannucks) art styles. Add in the video game explosion and affordable anime DVD series and we no longer have the wealth of masterful artist and writers we once had. It's too bad. If I looked at some kid nowadays and said "*snikt* get lost bub!" he probably wouldn't have a clue. However, he'd probably nod in total agreement if I said some crap like "peek..a..choo?"

I have actually been the (p)archangel of Mr. Park's religion for some time now, and me and my fellow Parkites are devoutly zealous to our leader, who will lead us to a land of milk and honey, where multi-ethnic children will be able to play with baby pandas for all eternity, as well as looking ridiculously cool when doing something which is essentially a cartwheel.

If I could have a moment of your time to show you some pamphlets...

*answers front door in underpants holding a whiskey bottle*

Wu-hell...come on in, I wuz just about to watch NASCAR...

Aren't you miserable, Mr. Assassin? Isn't your life just terrible? No, you're not happy. You're just decieved into 'believing' you're happy. You're not happy at all. And your name isn't Mystic Assassin, that's the name you chose to give yourself when you decided to post comments on this website. It is a cage you are imprisoned in. Your name is Olly. Olly. Olly...


Shark said:

"Hey Mohammed, I've noticed that comic books in general have taken a dive. You really have to dig through the independents to find something good, and even then, it's so obscure that you can't share a conversation with anyone based on the comic."

There are still some great talents in comics these days, my cartilaginous friend. Alan Moore(!) has a number of projects going, even though the wildly ambitious (and equally out-of-control) _League_ is on hiatus. I can also recommend anything by Brian Bendis or Kurt Busiek. Warren Ellis' _Transmetropolitan_ is among the best comics I've ever read. And somebody mentioned _The Authority_ - I've only read a little of it, but it's highly recommended by my comic-geek friends.

Call me crazy, but I think this is a pretty good time to be a comic reader.

What thread was this again? Oh. Poor amp21. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program...

Yes...I can't remember his name, but the guy who created "The Watchman" who now resides in a castle in Scotland.

He hasn't allowed any merchandising to commence on his comics at toys, action figures, lunchboxes, etc.

The Authority is quite good...yes. The only problem I have with it is they have a different artist do each episode. There's three+ episodes to an issue. Some of the art is really good, some I don't really like. They artists' styles span traditional to more modern, to a nickelodeon feel...

But the writing is good...I've read the first four issues.

"Yes...I can't remember his name, but the guy who created "The Watchman" who now resides in a castle in Scotland."

That would be Mr. Alan Moore. Inconsistent? Yes. Pretentious? Very. And still one of the brightest lights ever to shine on the comic book medium.

Which is why he has the right to be inconsistent and pretentious, I suppose.

He'll regret it though, on his death bed, when the Grim Reaper cometh, and he looks at Stan Lee, rolling in the green stuff with his head in a jar, kept alive by the most sophisticated and expensive life-support in the world...

But I digress.

I doubt that...

Stan Lee doth not liveth in yonder caster of Scotland. He lives in an Maybe with a cool basement...but it ain't no castle. Alan Moore on the other hand, has the liberty of calling his basement a dungeon.

How cool is it for a GM to tell his wife...

"I'm going down to the dungeon to torture some of my friends."

Hmmm... But is he happy? :-)

Mo, Ass, Olly, Cocky (ok that one may be a bit much), Give me a grade a list of recommended comics out right now. 10 or so will do. Thanks

Hey MA, I didn't wan to leave you out on the invite. Seeing as how you will be the Dark Wretched Bane of my people, I would be delighted to receive suggested readings from you. Sam feel free to chime in, you dirty and sexy Canadian. And hey Chief! Uunahuentixl tianolcquito jiba imuupoo? If so, that would be wonderful! Hey, someone tell that Mage Liam Hanukkah Mufasa, as well. Ah yes... Our small, terminally retarded on-line party grows...(sniffle). It was only yesterday that we started out with rusty daggers and padded leather armor. My how time flies when the posts are as asinine as these are.

Hey Olly:
Love, Love, Love, Marina though the flick was a FARSE...?

Chomp, chomp baby!

I love 70's/80's cleremont X-Men as well, and have most of the issues that cost less than $10 each :-) Most everything in the 90's was crap designed to sell trading cards and action figures... but this isn't the 90's anymore, is it? I'll be honest, I didn't like hardly any of the Joe Quesada relaunches. The ultimate titles are retarded, and Joe wiped out any sense of "The Marvel Universe". But lately, as in about the past year or so, there has been some really awsome stuff coming out of Marvel. A lot of it is because they have taken the characters out of their "whine about my problems and react to supervillain of the week" mode, and put them into storylines where the heroes drive the story. And in some shocking and inovative ways.

For about a year now, "Thor" has been about how Thor becomes omnipotent and ruler of Asgard, and begins to gain a following of worshipers on earth. He moves Asgard to earth, and eventually there is a war between humanity and Asgard that wipes out our entire way of life... the storyline has shifted to a hundred years in the future, where Thor rules... It's been a brilliant exploration of religion and the nature of religious belief, and the slow transformation of a hero into a tyrant... I never thought the same guy who brought us the hyper-commercialized death of superman would be able to write something this good...

The Fantastic Four, which hasn't been worth reading for decades, ever since Byrne left, is now under the guardianship of Mark Waid, one of the only good authors from the 90's. His stuff is great. Finally, the FF feel like real characters again, who are going somewhere with their lives and personalities, and there is conflict, and imagination and.... well, just check it out. I gauruntee you will be shocked that the FF could be this fresh and interesting anymore...

Daredevil is excellent, also. Dark, realistic inner-city crime stories in the marvel universe. Too bad the regular writer is taking a six month vacation to let some painter tell a dumb story that has, like, nothing to do with Daredevil...

And I just started reading Iron Man again... Tony Stark has just become secretary of defense. Politics and current events are explored, as well as fascinating sci-fi concepts "No one need die in war ever again!?!" drive this new creative direction. Anyone who thinks comic books can't be socially relevant should check out this and Thor.

So anyway, Marvel comics is actually putting out some fantastic stuff again, so the next time you go into your local hobby store to grab "big book of monsters to kill helpless partys with volume seven" swing by the comic book section (look in the back issues for the beginnings of the new Thor, FF, and Daredevil directions, Iron Man should still be in the new section) and check out some of these titles.

Anyhow, I'm not exactly sure how a thread about business in RPG campaigns turned into a discussion about comic books, and then a bunch of other stuff, but here's my two-cents worth about comics.

I honestly have nothing to say about the intended topic of the thread though :-)

like before...

I recommend "The Authority" ...that is the most current "new addition" to my library. Also, if you have any interest in translated MANGA, a good one is called "Blade of the Immortal"

With regards to staying on topic...

(we're pretty bad at that, huh?)...THEREFORE...

We shall henceforth be known as "The Offtopickers"

*cue the musical theme*

That is...until...the Demon Morbus Iff, casts his unholy-bane of thumb onto the "comments OFF" button of doom!

Gareth! YOU - DA - LAD! I really appreciate the tip offs. If I ever see you swimming, I will not kill you.

Hey Ass, a fellow gamer said recently "How could a person be involved with this hobby and NOT draw? You gotta do the DRAW!"

You draw, don't you? Doncha?! I can smell it from my insignificant home town... Yes, I can sense it (a disturbance in the force). Shark's got a sixth sense about these things. Do you post your works anywhere?

Let it be known:


OFFTOPPICKERS, transform and roll-out!

"Gamegrene. For the gamer who's sick of the typical."


P.s. I humbly and respectfully will show a tasteful amount of reverence to these hallowed green halls. As an Offtopicker, I only intend to occasionally add a twist, not simply get twisted... scout's honor.

Hey, Mr. Sharky. Thanks for the lyric, me old shiverin' matey, that was wonderful! However, I am, of late, thinking of abandoning that particular ditty for the time being, in favour of a little piece of poetic inspiration that came to me as I watched Lord Of The Rings on DVD with my friends and, lovingly, took the piss out of it.

Behold, my newest, sure-fire hit:

(Sings) I've been shagging Arwen Evenstar, all the livelong day, I've been shagging Arwen Evenstar, whilst Strider was away...

Take it, use it in your campaign, enjoy, live fast, die well, pay the money, pay it now, pay it to Pop.


Olly you are a bad man,
I advise you not to say anything scurrilous about The lady Galadriel or you will die and also be cursed.

Ok you guys have convinced me it might be worth buying comics again. I'll have a browse.

I've had an idea. What are peoples favorite superheroes, and why.?

I like spider man and daredevil because they still hold to the old code, saving life and never killing if they can avoid it. They are also incorruptible.
I like punisher for different reasons. He's an implacable nemesis. It's a pleasant fantasy to think that someone punishes the guilty.

But my favorite is Shang Chi ' Master of Kung fu'. He shares the qualities of spidey and DD, but he adds a sparse moody script full of heroic oriental wisdom . Here are some examples:

(1) When asked what they fear, Shang chi's friends come out with the usual fears. One is afraid of being paralysed, one of death, one of finding unexpected life creepy crawlies etc. Shang chi just considers the question and replies 'To be less than I can be... No! to be less than I am!' what a hero !

(2) Another time hes fighting a martial arts master called 'Death Dealer' . This is an example of the script as best I remember. Told in the first person:
'Death dealer is good, better even than his vain boasts. I attack but he whirls like a shadow , disturbing dust, silence, but never, never, his terrible concentration.'
Wow ! That's script writing !

The Lady Galadriel? Is that what she's calling herself these days. I knew her when she was younger and less pretensious, she was just calling herself Gal...

...Oh, and I've 'had' her.

Oh, and Mo, in response to your post about favourite superheroes, a list of mine are shown below...

Batman, because you've got to really, haven't you?

Nightcrawler from X-Men, because there are very few blue, German superheroes out there.

Toad from X-Men, because he's green, ugly and annoying, and he's got that tongue thing down. Wolverine's adamantium skeleton is all very well, but let's be honest, you're not going to be able to pull the birds with it, are you? Whereas, if you were Toad, you'd just sit there, at the end of the bar, smiling, winking and licking your eyebrows. Plus, he was played by Ray Park in the movie, and as we all know, Ray Park is god.

Iron Fist. Ray Park. End of story.

Oh, and Quiver's cool too, but practically nobody has heard of him, and that shows that I read far too many underground comics for my own good.

"Toad from X-Men, because he's green, ugly and annoying..."

That explains quite a bit, dunnit?


I do draw, quite often. I don’t have a website yet, mainly cuz I’m broke and I don’t have all the hardware that I want.

*imagines custom tower, gunmetal gray, with dragon fan vents and black lights*

My favorite superheroes are all ones that I created…I write, too


Cocytus, I tend to prefer the characters I can relate to!

That said, I am just kidding. I am actually identical in every aspect to Stuart Townsend, and people often comment on it, as I pass them in the street... (Albeit when I've got a gun in their face shouting "SAY I LOOK LIKE STUART TOWNSEND, YOU BASTARD, OR I'LL BLOODY KILL YOU!")

[To passing woman] Hey there, baby! Like the tongue? I can clean my eyebrows with it, you know. Don't you think I look like Stuart Townsend...


Hold on...


...Yeah, I do, don't I. And yes, this is an actual Smith & Wesson...

Did you 'take' Lady Galadriel? Have I been told correctly? What do you think Legolas is up to? Because, I don't know, maybe he's a sensitive guy. Probably an understanding man, if I had my guess.

But not in a homo type of way! OH NO! NO SIREEEE! Ha ha ha. You guys are funny! I'm just your average guy, kinda' like, say, Stuart T. over there. Man, we tight, yo!
Straight up straight!

As for comic book heroes, I like Northstar, the Rawhide kid, and maybe Robin? But really, you gotta' show your props to Namor, the guy with the wingy things on his ankles, AND NOT MUCH ELSE! *exhales deeply* Yeah, those were the days...

Yeah, I'm just your average guy. I buy my own groceries, I pay my bills, I can't look at my portrait or I'll die... you know, just a normal guy.

Shark, You have made some interesting choices concerning superheroes, particularly Robin. I always found Robin a little too camp to be taken seriously, even when he wasn't in the Billy West 60's show. Even in the Tim Burton films he was a bit "Oooh, 'ello!" for my liking...

Oh, and yes, I have 'had' Lady Galadriel. Or Gal, as she was calling herself then.

Being immortal, I go to a lot of parties, and you meet people through people, I find, but anyway, I met her, yeah, asked her to dance, showed her how I can lick my eyebrows, the usual sort of stuff, and we went to the back of my Chevy... one thing lead to another... Yeah...

She wasn't that good.

No, most women are inadequate in that arena. Might I make a suggestion?

Go ahead, Mr. Sharky.

How close are you with your guy buddies? (oh christ no!)

Because you can find some real comfort in the arms of a strong fellow. First time you'll probably bleed, but it gets easier.

(THAT'S IT! I'm now returning to being a lesbian stuck in a man's body! It's just not funny anymore! That really grossed me out.)

In my immortal lifetime of sin and iniquity, I have naturally indulged in the sins of the flesh with other males.

Like Legolas, for example... And, on occasion, Haldir...

Mr. Townsend, have you ever slept with Madonna? Also, how in the blazing hell does this all pertain to the article above?

I know, Shark, it's not so much a who's who, as a who's had who! amp21's turning in his grave.

P.S. I imagine I've slept with Madonna at some point. Everyone else has.

I figured as much. By the way, when did amp21 die. Why wasn't the site notified. THE DUDE OWES ME $50!

I'm afraid he was one of those poor sailorboys, drowned on the Nautilus when I blew part of it up. Alas.

Never, EVER, should they let the two of us be posting at the same time! Bad call, for their part! Perhaps, I should just turn my back and let it go... let it go, man... let it go. (G@*&#% I've got work to do at my @*&^# JOB!)

Same time tomorrow morning then?

I hope so, I've very much enjoyed our amusing, somewhat confused conversation, Shark.

Our theme song is ready! Offtopickers, assemble!

[Sings to the tune of the Benny Hill themetune]

When there's a topic, that's growing stale,
Then we'll emerge in a jiff,
We're handsome, smart and too damned smug,
And we're always on the verge of a tiff,

We'll yak about Aragorn, Batman, Robin,
Nemo, Stuart Townsend and Galadriel knobbing,
We come on the scene, all sparkling clean,


*scratching the turn-table*

Yeah we're the *((>))* !!!


Did I just...I was...



*shakes his fist at the cosmos*

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I've Been Shagging Arwen Evenstar (He wasn't that good - Arwen Evenstar)

And, a never-before-heard cover version of 'Let's Kick A Welshman Up The Arse, For Fun!'

And it can be yours, for the low, low price of just $128.50 (in England, that's £9.80)! Wow! But wait, there's more! Send your credit card, along with your pin number, to the following address, and we'll send you absolutely free, this limited edition collection of official 'Olly' empty beer cans! Wow! What a great deal!

But hurry, supplies are limited (at this time, supplies consist of only eleven warehouses and my garage!) and demand is great. Order now, to avoid disappointment!


Did the thread just degrade to pointlessness on me all of a sudden?

I was following it for a little while there.

And what the hell does the thread have to do with the article?!?


It is disrespectful to this newsgroup and to the author of the article to hijack the threads on this group this way. There is an open forum available here for off-topic banter.

Ah, shove it up your ass! If you're so anxious to get back on topic, you do that. Just because people start listening to me and not you, there's no reason to cry like a bitch!

[Mock sobbing] It's disrespectful to this newsgroup and to the author of the article to hijack the threads of the group this way... Boo hoo...

Look, Neph, Eater, they can either ignore me or talk to me, guys, and if you don't like that, than I suggest you raise an army of loyal followers, gain a position of power in the government, conquer the surrounding nations and just rule the world, like you do in your friggin' heads!



All jesting aside, you're being a prick in this instance. If you can't stay on topic for any other reason, you should be aware that every post you write winds up in the author's e-mail box. If you are happy being a discourteous f***wit and perpetrator of spam, fine; but that doesn't make Nephandus wrong about you being one.

Forgot to mention, it winds up in Morbus Iff's and Salvatore's inboxes, too...

Not trying to be too harsh on you, old chap, but I think the "shove it up your ass" stuff can get stale.

Oh, boy! The cavalry's here, Neph!

But seriously, guys, Neph's being a jerk. As is Eater. I didn't ask to be insulted, and if Morbus Iff and Salvatore think that my posts are silly they can delete them. I do try to stay on topic, and I like to think that for every silly post I make, I make a sensible one, too. It's not my fault if people prefer silliness now and again.

I don't force people to listen to me, they can just as easily ignore me, rather than get all uppity about it. I'm only trying to bring a little bit of light-heartedness to an otherwise dry conversation. I'm just trying to make people happy. And if that upsets anyone then hang me.

... I need a hug.

Don't forget Sam, too, from the other thread. So, that's Sam, me, Eater, and Cocytus, so far, telling you a common courtesy. I'm not the first to do so, and I have no idea what you are talking about with cavalries and power bases, but it all sounds rather silly. WTF is your problem anyway? I enjoy your posts when they are on topic, as do most people I think. But this persecution complex is a bit..well..pathetic. You are funny - you just take yourself a bit too seriously. Get over yourself, you diva. You may not force people to read you, but you monopolize great threads with off-topic banter when you aren't contributing your own good stuff, and the alternative for everyone else is to go to another BBS, because this one is going to pot. That's what you want?

If you remember correctly, Neph, I was arguing with Sam over something ON TOPIC. We were talking about rangers, crossbows... and... towards the end, maple syrup, but that's besides the point!

I don't believe I have a problem, Neph. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce. And what's all this about a 'persecution complex'? I'm just trying to defend myself, you moron! If everyone you insult defends themselves, doesn't mean they've got a 'persecution complex' as you call it.

P.S. Don't call me a diva. I much prefer the term: 'god'

I humbly and respectfully will show a tasteful amount of reverence to these hallowed green halls. As an Offtopicker, I only intend to occasionally add a twist, not simply get twisted... on my honour as a villain.

I think perhaps you should save the "irate englishman" stuff for the Open Forum, Olly...

If I was really irate, Ass, I'd be so sycophantically nice to him as to make him sick. That's what so great about us English, we have a habit of being incredibly polite people we dislike and incredibly rude to people we actually rather like, you South African pig.



...he...really loves me.

Can I get you some toast, Nephandus? You know I really admire you, Nephandus? It's such a great name you have, Nephandus! I want to be just like you, Nephandus! Man, you're so damn cool, Nephandus...

'What we have here , is a failure to communicate'

Olly is a bit frivolous in approach but nevertheless feels that he's not really out of line and gets indignant if people accuse him of abusing the system.

Nephademus is a bit earnest and is upset with Olly's friviolity.

Now in my capacity as Know-it-all, I suggest to Olly that when he replies to Neph, he use less emotive language. And to Neph I say, Olly is a free spirit and needs to fly.

You know "love is like a butterfly. Hold it in your hand and you will crush it. open your hand and it will fly away."

And thats all I have to say.


that was beautiful

(sobs) Yeah, man... Look at me, I've gone to peices... I'm sorry, Neph... I'm such a jerk... (sobs quietly) I love you, man! (Floods of tears)

*playing VERY emotional violin*

Let's never fight again...


And I was just being a smart ass.


I'm sorry youse guys!

You know I love you man!

::wanders off weeping softly::

Let's end the unfortunate hostilities between us and be brothers henceforth and forever more, Eater...

...But first, I have to gather a crew of a twenty strong men to join me in the search for (thunder and lightning)...

...The Great White Whale... Yaaargh!

When push comes to shove...

we should just love.

Aw, in't that wonderful, everyone loving one another and not fighting. It's just like the end of Pokemon: The Movie.




...I miss being obnoxious already.


I agree Ass.

This sucks.

You actually watched the Pokemon movie????? Loser!

Sorry, I had to.

No brother of mine would watch Pokemon while searching for Moby Dick! You crazy british freak!



...the whole let's all get along thing.

::hold hads and sings 'Shiny Happy People'::

I said before: "Did the thread just degrade to pointlessness on me all of a sudden?" But now I realise that the tread was never on topic.

I'm proud to say that I did not contribute to that at all. It was Olly, Ass, Neph, Cocytus, Mo and Shark.
Really, I had nothing to do with it.

::bats eyelashes innocently::

Don't forget to add the "tee hee hee" to that.

Yaaargh! I'll watch whatever crappy kid's films I like whilst hunting for... (Thunder and lightning) The Great White Whale...

Tonight, I'm watching Casper: A Spirited Beginning...


Movies? Yeah...

That's a good business rental.

If the movie's really bad, I make up my own movie. When I watched The Man Who Cried, I made it a whole different movie, with Christina Ricci's character speaking in a thick Russian accent, Johnny Depp acting like Biyagi from Footballer's Wives, and the entire cast being obsessed with horse's cocks.

Needless to say, my version is much better than the original.


If you've seen the original The Man Who Cried you'd realise just how much better my version is.

Johnny Depp: I hef a present for you.
Christina Ricci: What is it?
Johnny Depp: It is my horse's cock.

Just when I thought it wasn't possible to degrade further.

I'm English. We invented Graham Norton, for God's sake!

Good point.

I'm not actually that fond of Graham. It seems to me he just recycles the same material every week.

I feel I am in a position to give crap in this case. I'm from New England, we've provided the world with Stephen King and Rob Zombie.

I think Steven King's very overrated. I tried to read his books, but he just bogs you down with unneccesary detail. I don't really care the first time the central protaganist saw a cat, GET TO THE EVIL CLOWNS!

Yaeh, It kinda sucked. Try Bag Of Bones, that book was incredible, as was Dreamcatcher, ignore the film. And his Dark Tower books are unsurpassed.

Dreamcatcher, Eater? Are you mad?

Poo monsters, yes, poo monsters, are not scary!

What's Bag Of Bones about? I saw it in the shops, liked the title, but the blurb on the back didn't give me a clue as to just what it was about.

They were called "shit weasels".

Bag Of Bones is about this writer who moves into a haunted house. It's kinda hard to describe but if you give it a chance I think you'll enjoy it.

I did, but then I enjoyed The Crow.

I was hoping I wouldn't descend into gutter mouth, but what the hell.

Shit. Bitch. Motherfucker.

Oooh, that feels better.

Why refrain now?

I am CERTAIN those were Olly's LAST WORDS...

LOL. What makes you think that Capn'?

(something on topic) uh ... uh ... does anyone really bother with rate exchange national dollar value in their campaigns? Me neither. :)

I have done so in the past, but I've started noticing that my players generally don't want that level of "realism". I like to use interesting currency systems, just as one example, but I hear a lot of howling about the non-base-10 monetary denominations, blah blah blah...

Oh yeah, I've done that. It is a good way to strip the party of some funds as the money changers take their vig. And really there is no such thing as a bad way to strip the party of funds, is there? Of course they can choose not to change their currency, then they get to be overcharged by hostile toll collecters, merchants, barkeeps, etc. for not having the appropriate currency.
Of course in the game I did that, they were traveling between states where the relations were strained, so unfriendly currency exchanges were part of the background. Now they are in friendly environs, so it is not an issue.

I do that all the time. It's great in modern games. I had a group get paid in Canaidan dollars instead of US dollars at a time when the exchange rate was in the vacinity of 50%. It was great. I do it in fantasy games where one culture doesn't value gold of between kingdoms that do, the coins are minted at different sises and vales, etc. I also name them different things.

Hey, Shark, I bet you didn't expect that to turn into a real topic discussion.

::picks up Olly's skull from the ground. brushes dirt from it. bears a mock British accent::

Oh, for where art thou, dear Olly, for I knew him well. Whether tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of light through yonder window breaks. Double, double, toil and trouble.

::drops bad British accent::

Or something like that. You cant expect good Shakespeare out of me, I'm an American.

ROTF LMAO! I planned it as such! AHA! (psst, nice one Dead!)

To remain painfully on-topic. A DM once made our currency valuless after the fall of the country which issued it. Ironically enough, we were the ones who had catalyzed the downfall of the country we stole from. Go figure. It also seems to me that rate exchange only really works in modern settings. It doesn't feel right in fantasy.

[grabs Olly's skull, kicks it though the uprights]

The extra point is good!


Sorry for the delay lads, my computer buggered up, and I ended up unable to contact you guys for a fortnight, but I have come back to you know, at the turn of the tide, for an Offtopicker is never late, nor is he early... He arrives precisely when he means to.

And Eater, don't talk to me about Shakespeare, I did a whole term of the sod at RADA, I know Hamlet inside out. Silly goth boy.

(Adopts standard RADA 'Me aye kann speek gud Inglish' accent)

Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I, is it not monstrous, that this player here within a fiction... blah, blah, blah,

Hey, sorry about booting your skull and all. Good to see you back you ... (bite my tongue)

[holds back tears while grinning]

On topic ... sniff ... Me ... gaming job ... money ...

[too vechlemncht to speak]

Oh, dearest Sharky...and his moment of nobility...a flash in the pan...a shot in the unconsious party-girl lying in a dark alley...

...And a partridge in a pear tree.

Yeah, Olly...that comment will be deleted soon...

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!

Regarding the currency exchange issue:

Historically (yes, that again), there was no "set" national value for currency, nor even for a given weight of a precious metal. Local currency was worth whatever the ruler said it was worth, and generally no one but moneychangers and traders would accept non-local currency (It's to the ruler's advantage to ensure only his or her currency is what's floating around the marketplace, so this is backed up with fairly strict laws against carrying or distributing large sums of foreign coins). So one easy way to strip some of that extra PC cash is to simply make sure they have no choice but to exchange all their miscellaneous coinage for local currency every time they cross borders. And do you think the moneychangers are going to give them fair market value for that coinage? Do you think the moneychanger is even going to give them fair market value for the precious metal? Heh heh heh.

Historically, travelers got around this by carrying their stash in valuables that weren't subject to currency manipulation, like small gemstones or easily portable luxury goods like spices, precious oils, and silk. They still have to convert them into useful local coinage on a regular basis, but they're less likely to get screwed on exchange.

Of course, if they're carrying too much money around in luxury goods, there's always importing and excise taxes...


Something else just occurred to me - as an obvious counter to the assumption that property- and currency- juggling is a necessary component of fantasy RPGs, bear in mind that in the entire 5 year run of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, neither Hercules nor Aeolus ever carried any money. At all. It simply wasn't part of the narrative at all, and when it did come up, it was explained that they simply relied on the charity of the locals or did odd jobs in exchange for food and board.

Ask your paladin with the sixteen magic swords just how he measures up to *that*. ;-)



Oh, god...that (3+) year period when Hercules & Xena were back to back in the evenings. Those shows were "so good" but they were so BAD. That was back before Cartoon Network.

*golden ray of light descends from the heavens*


Hercules and Xena.

::wards against evil::

I HATE those shows. Ugh. Bad, bad, bad shows. Allmost as bad as Conan The Destroyer. I actually paid money for that movie last week and realised something. It was named The destroyer because it destroyed the franchise.

Get it? Destryoed.... Nevermind.

I almost got, but then you went and spelled it wrong...

:: snicker ::