Guaging interest in ArM5 Saga - Curse of the Rhine Gorge

Is anyone interested in playing the Curse of the Rhine Gorge saga outlined in chapter 12 of Guardians of the Forest?

I'm an experienced GM, but have no experience as a Story Guide in ArM5. So I was hoping to put together a game that uses the troupe style of play more than the traditional 1 GM style of game.


I' be interested :slight_smile: A troupe style is always a good solution, as long as the alpha storyteller remains the alpha storyteller :wink:

Here, elsewhere? How soon?

Have you every GM'd AM? Have you ever GM'd a play-by-post? (Should I ask all the usual questions on that latter score?)

There are sagas and there are sagas, styles vary and one is not everyone's cup of vis. I'd like to hear more about what you envision for this.

Interested in playing. Don't mind taking my fair share of SG duty, but agree that I'ld like a little more detail on style of game.


Freshly gauntleted mages or a few years past gauntlet (to individualize)?

  • pro freshly gauntleted: less power gaming, simple rules for character creation
  • pro few years past: more individualistic

-->suggestion: 2 or so years past gauntlet

I'd like to experiment with an intellego magus.
I could think of a Minnesaenger (singing charming poor knight) as a companion.
How many grogs do we need each? Any - to start with?

I'd also recommend a small number of players. If there are many, there is so much waiting involved in these forum campaigns. On the other hand, it's tough for a SG to have to turn people down.

I can't get enough, especially since one online chronicle of mine fell apart leaving me with my feral born maga (latin is her only language) having no where to go.

No I never GM'd ArM. I've DM'd D&D, online and off for the last 20+ years.

As far a style of game I'm not sure. It could be what ever we wanted. Since I'm new I was going to rely on the prewritten material at the back of Guardians of the Forest: The Rhine Tribunal. From what I've read it assumes the magi are straight out of gauntlet. They are offered support from one of the big covenants (Durenmar, Fengheld) to establish a new covenant in the Rhine Gorge.

This area is rumored to be cursed because the previous 4 covenants that tried to settle in the area came to untimely ends.

The saga starts with the magi investigating the sites of the previous covenants.

Okay, sounds reasonable so far.

I believe that if the SG is not amused and having fun, the game will die. That means the players should entertain the SG as much (or more!) than they them. And that means the players should be in a game where they feel they themselves can have fun. So, your preferences are the most important ones. "We" do not exist yet - your cues and hints will largely influence who shows up and becomes "us" - (and I do not include myself in that yet.)

There are many ways to play and have fun, and every one is right... just not right for everyone.

Here are some of my more important PbP concerns...1) Posting rate.
Be realistic, be honest. How often are you, the SG, going to want to sit down and reply to IC posts and advance the plotline? Daily? Twice a day? Twice a week? Because slower players will either get left behind or frustrate your desired pace, or both, and vice versa for faster players. Good to know what level of time demands and commitments to expect going in.

  1. Writing/Posting expectations.
    Some StoryGuides are cool with what looks like a transcript from a table-top game, IC & OOC & game mechanics & numbers & rolls & action mixed together, others not so much. And some are fine with one line posts, "stage direction" quality ("I cast BOAF at the nearest faerie"), while others believe that a written medium should reflect an effort towards "writing".

Any special posting expectations fall here too, like "Latin must be in Purple, High German in Blue, Low German in DarkGreen..." & etc, or "Each character choose a color for their characters speech", or whatever. (I don't pretend to understand, I just know what I've seen...)

  1. Absences.
    RL will take players away for short times, or longer, or permanently. Sometimes it's hard to know at first which. How will you handle this?

  2. House rules.
    Any and all that you prefer, both Game Mechanics and Combat/Encounter Posting preferences.

  3. Plot driven vs Character driven.
    Some SG's have strong preconceived ideas for what will happen, and largely take the story out of the players' hands, while others let the players do whatever, and stories only grow out of characters actions (which tend to spring from Story flaws & etc, but are rarely "unified" for all characters.) Which are you? (And don't say "both" - everyone is "both" - which is your main style, that you usually lean toward?) Sounds like this is going to be Story driven, with pre-existing storyhooks from the book?

Fair enough

Btw Have you asked permission from the Atlas Games people if we are allowed to do this or if this is against their copyright wishes? After all, we are working with a more or less pre-written adventure (I doubt they'll forbid it but I think it is only fair to ask).

As for the form, Michelle Nephew has suggested some form to start a new game in which many of the important questions that have been asked are brought up. It would truly help us if you wrote such a text for us - so we know what to expect.

Posting Rate:
Honest with my schedule, in character posts would happen 2 times a week max. Minimum I would always post once a week on Sunday night. Obviously a smaller group means a better chance of me posting more. Right now there are 5 of you. I always cap my D&D games at 5. I've found that any more slows things down too much.

Writing expectations:
I'm partial toward narrative writing, because it's more interesting to read. However, it makes more work and unless you have a group of dedicated "writers" the game dies easily. In my experience Stage Direction style is more practical. As SG I'd still throw in bits of short narrative for flavor, but stage direction from the players is fine.

Character speech is in quotes and bold. No Colors. Language used and character name at the start of the paragraph. E.g. Milo(Latin):"Go away!"

Unspoken thoughts are written in italics.

Out of character text is proceeded by "OOC:"

Be considerate and let us know if you will be away for a long time. The character can be "written out" of the story and brought back later. No posting for more than 4 weeks with out an explanation and the character will be "written out" of the saga. Another player will be invited to take your place.

Plot driven vs Story driven
I lean toward story and yes the saga outlined in the book has lots of story hooks. There will be opportunity to play out some character story flaws but the saga will be dominated by plot lines from the book.

Jean Michelle,

Good idea.

Initially I was just testing to see if there was interest in playing pre-written material from Atlas. It's clear that there is so I'll fill out the form you mentioned and post it as soon as I can.

I've just PMed with Bruce and asked him if he wanted me to take over storyguiding this as an alpha-storyguide. He agreed. I will try to become more troupe-stylish with time, but I think I better start a tad more conventionally until we've got used to each other. I have guided my share of games, but I am rather inexperienced with troup style (but curious). I still have to ask Atlas permission for running this at all.

So here are the new guidelines:

Curse of the Rhine Gorge (3 players needed in addition to myself)

I want to put much focus on story, not on power: there is a standard amount of 6xp/season as experience - but no xp for success - only 0-3 bonus xp for good writing.
Characters can be competent or incompetent - good stories can also be told about incompetent characters.
Fights will happen - but I am trying to put focus on telling a story (not killing characters - unless the player wants to kill her character to improve the story).

I want you to use the PAST TENSE as a base for our roleplay (3rd person limited narrator with shifting focalizers to be exact,) so we don't feel tempted to use simple stage directions.
"Richard carefully opened the door, hoping the old abbot had drunk the poison." sounds better than "Richard opens the door. Is the abbot dead?".
Questions can always be asked in the ooc thread of course, but I think they only pollute a story.
I will try to provide decent settings, which you can elaborate on without asking (e.g. The mages traveled through the forest. The darkness between the fir trees was almost tangible. Strange shapes seemed to move just outside the reach of the Magic Lantern. -->Player addition (Richard the angst-ridden): "Richard jumped thought he had heard an owl cry. A bad omen? Then he noticed an odd shape to his left cowering on the forest floor. He was just about to warn the others when he realized that it was only a broken tree".

This also includes the courage to make other players' characters do harmless things, like nodding or laughing or doing something that does not really require a character decision.

System: ArM5, including 3x HoH, GoTF, Covenants, I'd appreciate it if characters were rather normal (no infernally tainted ex misc weirdos with special or complicated virtues that take hours to understand and balance: I want each of you to be able to imagine the other magi even if you only have some of the books); no complicated house rules - I don't want this to be a rules exercise but a story.

Character creation: as in the book, (not extremely detailed)

Players needed: I always play a character when I storyguide because it helps me see both sides. Players: Cuchulainshound, Bruce Sefton, ladyphoenix; replacement if someone doesn't confirm this within a week or has lost interest when S/he reads the new guidelines: warjoski - sorry I had to limit the number: The larger the group the slower the action.

Combat rules/dice: No complex group combat rules.
Everyone can dice however he or she wants. Trust is given: Honesty is expected.

Posting rate: This is a small group so things can move more quickly. If a player does not post for 48 hours, his character is taken over by the other players who can just make him do things until the player takes back control by posting. The other players are expected to treat characters taken over reasonably (just don't make him strip on the marketplace and molest marketwomen - unless he has a major flaw deranged lecher or something).
If a player stops posting for weeks without giving some reason his character will be parked in a lab or killed to advance the plot and make room for a new player (only if there is nothing at all for a really long time).

creation as in the books (with minor allowances if there are good in- character reasons). No extremely detailed characters - they only lead to power gaming.
Mage Character creation should include a long paragraph on looks, voice, preferred clothing, habits etc.
Also write a short piece of fiction on the character's gauntlet (so we can see her even better)
Companions are created later (when we acquire them), same for grogs

start: 2 years past gauntlet, for personalization (=60xp, buy extra spells for 1xp/2lvls, you start with 6 p Vis - Te or Fo; which you can either use in those two years to create a magic item or keep for the beginning of play). Affinity xp are in addition to the ones used for calculating.
I'd like the character to be finished in 2008.

starting year: winter (=Jan, Feb, March) 1220

other rules (languages):
German is assumed as the standard language speaking to anybody but magi, Latin for Magi. If the language matters, just weave it into the text somehow (by using a greeting, a German/Latin word, or by simply saying "Richard replied in Latin".)

I've never tried this, but I suggest one colour per character direct speech, italics for thoughts. Black otherwise.

I do not want the flow of the text to be interrupted by ooc comments, so just write the three letters ooc underneath your post if there is something ooc to talk about and then state it in the ooc thread (link it if you want to).
This way, the story doen't get interrupted by number crunching or Absence notes.

Plot vs character driven:
Our goal is to found a covenant (or chapter). This will take at least a year of RL time. Characzers motivated in founding a covenant would be nice, so we can have both. After that we can pass story-guiding around for both kinds.

I'll try to be available 5 days per week.

I'd be surprised if they balked - Michelle needs to set up the board (with a game Name), and you as Moderator of the Game, but I've never seen them complain about endless spoiler discussion about Calebais or other published saga/adventure material.

Sounds good - 5 posts/week is more enticing than 2/week, by more than 150%, imo.

I'd toss out 2 comments.

For a speech color, I choose...mmmm... black! It always works perfectly in any book and text I've read before, and really see no advantage to be gained. I think "[color=green]colors" are distracting in standard posts, and are for playing online IRC ("chat") games where it's hard to quickly keep track of the diff between who's speaking. Here, we should know, and "I would hope everyone knows to speak in quotation marks", he said with some hesitation.

(If this is a dealbreaker, darkblue, resignedly.)

Advancement - Play by Post is slow by its nature - or can be. Slowing advancement down could really stagnate characters - but we'll see as we go.

These two are not dealbreakers, but they stand out to my own customary usage, and so I post them here in hopes that others may agree - or, if not, so be it.

Let's see what the others say about "..." as direct speech markers. I like normal direct speech too. I leave the topic for majority vote. I abstain.

I have no intention of slowing advancement down. Adventures from 6-9 xp are not the only source of xp. There are lab seasons planned (as soon as labs have been built). All I do is create the need to aquire good books (btw, the raw draft for my magus is a VERY communicative good teacher - so the freshly started covenant can build a decent library. I just don't want to end up like in a computer rpg or good old rolemaster: I don't want to hand out xp depending on the litres of blood spilled.

Well, scratch that Flambeau concept... 8)

Sounds good. Am PM'ing with Character thoughts.

I can commit to the posting time. If I'm a voting member, then "..." for character speech is fine. If it becomes a problem, we can change it later.

I will PM a character concept.

Yeah, we probably need to start at tribunal with permission to start a covenant or we can hunt a site first.

I was thinking my feral shapeshifting ex misc but maybe not considering how Bjornaer look on shapeshifters.

Yes I was concerned that with my current schedule the game would suffer if I were Alpha SG. So I turned the helm over to Jean Michelle. I'll still be participating as a player though.

I am in agreement with Cuchulain, speech should be in quotes and black.

I'm interested in playing a Guernicus Hoplite or a Jerbiton.

Jean Michelle,
Do you want character concepts posted here, pm to you, or should we wait for the game forum to be opened?

Forum is open!
If there is no reason for secrecy, post there!