Oh, Dice Apps, so many players and GMs dread you and yet you are becoming more and more mainstream. A few years back I wrote a blog talking about what my thoughts were concerning electronic Dice Apps. At the time I had said only if you could find a good free dice App would I recommend picking one up. My reasoning back then was as good as they were it was unlikely that you would ever be allowed to use them at the table. Dice apps once were looked at as a digital version of cheating, some still feel this way. But before we rush to judgment lets take a look at some of the facts surrounding this new technology that has taken the tabletop RPG world by storm.
Dice Apps Today
Honestly, if anything they have improved visually but they are essentially they are still codded very much the same. The math says both physics and number generated dice apps these days are as random of more so than physical dice. It has been my experience that more and more electronic dice are slowly being accepted by gamers and game masters at the table. But I do not feel that it has anything to do with the App programs themselves that have made them any more or less acceptable at the table.
So What has Changed?
I think the there are a number of factors that have made Dice Apps more acceptable at the time these days.
First I think with more and more people playing RPG games on sites like Roll20.net, Fantasy Grounds, and watching games over platforms like Twitch, and even players gaming over Discord. Gamers are having to use electronic dice more and more often. This makes players at tables and game masters alike less apprehensive about the use of Dice Apps at the table.
Second In my personal opinion, I would also think that Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars “Dice Soup” narrative setting. As well as the popular GENESYS system both having top-notch Apps available to download have played a role as well. They speed play up, are faster for many players especially for beginners. Lastly, in my opinion, they are intentionally priced at 1/3 the cost of the physical product. I only bring up this second point because in the years since I wrote my first blog. I have encountered whole tables of players playing FFG SW where only one or two players would be using dice.
Would I buy Dice Apps?
These days I have several dice apps that I have and use. I still love my physical dice. But often I find that digital dice especially when I am running game is faster for me. Why, well mostly because the game aids I use as a GM have built in dice rollers in my encounter trackers. But that is for another blog.
So do you love or hate Dice Apps? Do you allow at your table? I would love to hear your thoughts!
For today’s post, I decided to use an already created race that fits perfectly in my world. They didn’t naturally evolve on Aquatica but were forcibly evolved by the Atlantean biomancers (probably from a froglike progenitor).
Did you ever see a race in a science fiction or fantasy film that you wanted to play, but never had the stats for? Did you ever want to see your favorite film species in your game of Pathfinder?
Well look no further, today, I give you a new race from the Star Wars Saga, best explained by the following quote:
That’s right, the Gungans are here!
Gungans are an amphibious sentient species and native to various swamps. The various different Gungan races can live on both water and land, but often make their home in underwater cities, that awe those coming from the outside. Physically, Gungans were tall humanoids with a flexible structure, strong leg muscles, strong bills, muscular tongues, and many other traits designed for living in watery environments.
The Gungans have a tense and uneasy relationship with the other humanoid species, especially humans, as they have been at war with them in the past. Now, they have an envoy by the name of Binks serving at an embassy in a nearby human kingdom.
Gungans are a sentient amphibious species, though some would dispute this claim after having met Envoy Binks. Some, in fact, claim that he was sent to allay suspicion and that he’s part of a clever cover-up designed to make humans underestimate the Gungans. Generally, both subspecies are tall humanoids with a flexible structure and strong leg muscles allowing them to become the predominant underwater species in the areas where they choose to live.
There are two Gungan races: the lanky Otolla, who sport prominent bills and eyes set on short stalks, and the heavier Ankura, whose eyes are hooded. The Gungan earlobes, called haillu, were most prominent in the Otolla. These earlobes displayed their emotions.
Below you’ll find the rules for adding these races to your game, as well as the rules for their racial mount, the Kaadu. Please note that both types of Gungans come up to 11 Racial Points (RP) as per the guide in the Advanced Player’s Guide, meaning that they are on roughly the same power level as the races presented in the Core Rulebook.
Otolla Gungan (11 RP)
+2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Wis. (1 RP) Otolla Gungans are flexible and hardy, but they tend to be gullible.
Type (0 RP): Otolla Gungans are humanoids with the Gungan subtype.
Size (0 RP): Otolla Gungans are medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Normal Speed (1 RP) Otolla Gungans have a base speed of 30 feet on land. They also have a swim speed of 40 feet, can move in water without making Swim checks, and always treat Swim as a class skill.
Darkvision (2 RP): Otolla gungans can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Amphibious (2 RP): Otolla gungans are amphibious and can breathe both air and water.
Jumper (2 RP): Due to the strength of their legs, Otolla gungans are always considered to have a running start when making Acrobatics checks to jump.
Powerful Swimmer (1 RP): Otolla gungans have strong legs and are excellent swimmers. As such, they receive a +10 foot bonus to their swim speed. (Included in the base speed above).
Sticky Tongue (2 RP): Otolla gungans have long sticky tongues, and they can make melee attacks with them. This is a secondary attack. A creature hit by this attack cannot move more than 5 feet away from the attacker and takes a –2 penalty to AC as long as the tongue is attached (this penalty does not stack if multiple tongues are attached). The tongue can be removed by the target or an adjacent ally by making an opposed Strength check against the attacking creature as a standard action or by dealing 2 points of damage to the tongue (AC 11, damage does not reduce the sticky-tongued creature’s hit points). Otolla gungans cannot move more than 10 feet away from a creature stuck to its tongue, but it can release its tongue from the target as a free action. A member of this race can only have one creature attached to its tongue at a time.
Ankura Gungan (11 RP)
+2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Cha. (1 RP) Ankura gungans are strong and hardy, but they tend to be grouchy and disagreeable.
Type (0 RP): Ankura gungans are humanoids with the Gungan subtype.
Size (0 RP): Ankura gungans are medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Slow and Steady (1 RP) Ankura gungans have a base speed of 20 feet on land. They also have a swim speed of 30 feet, can move in water without making Swim checks, and always treat Swim as a class skill. They are never encumbered by armor on land and only encumbered in water if wearing medium or heavy armor.
Darkvision (2 RP): Ankura gungans can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Amphibious (2 RP): Ankura gungans are amphibious and can breathe both air and water.
Powerful Swimmer (1 RP): Ankura gungans have strong legs and are excellent swimmers. As such, they receive a +10 foot bonus to their swim speed. (Included in the base speed above).
Terrifying Croak (2 RP): Once per hour as a standard action, an Ankura Gungan can emit a thunderous croak. Any non-Gungan must make a successful Will saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the user’s character level + the user’s Charisma modifier) or become shaken for 1d4 rounds. A target that successfully saves cannot be affected by the user’s terrifying croak for 24 hours. Creatures that are already shaken become frightened for 1d4 rounds instead. This is a sonic, mind-affecting effect.
Warrior Culture (2 RP): The Ankura gungans are known as terrifying warriors, and once per day, the Ankura Gungan takes damage, it flies into a frenzy for 1 minute, gaining a +2 racial bonus to Constitution and Strength, but a –2 penalty to AC.
So when your weekly tabletop RPG is wrapping up and you have a week or two until your next game session. When does your game prep start? For me it begins before my players even leave the table.
Post Game Wrap Up
Post game I often have two things that I try and do after every session. One is game related the other is to prevent complacency as a GM and promote communication.
One of the first things I do after a game, is ask my players what they thought of the game! This is a key part of my game prep. I also want my players to know the lines of communication are always open with me. During this time I am seeking feedback and insights from my players, good or bad. Often it is in these brief interactions in the few min while game is wrapping up that players will open up and share their thoughts more candidly. Often I am also able to take away deeper insights as to what the players may be thinking is going on in the greater story as well.
I think that it is important to note that I used to ask if my players “Had Fun”. This prompt too often would result in comments like “Good Game” Or “Yah it was Great”. By not priming the conversation with a leading question I found I get much better feedback. I find that asking “What did you think? or How was game?” Often gets you a far more in depth on topic response about the game itself.
Luckily for me often after game is over I have some quiet time where I can reflect on the game. During this time I take notes about what happened during the session for my upcoming game prep. This is never a very extensive note taking session as often five to ten minutes of note taking is all I need for a 4-6 hour game. Even if the game session has taken a hard turn and we have ventured into uncharted territory I keep this bit of my game prep short. I Never spend more than 20 min or so on this step of my game prep.
Next Time Downtime & Session Prep…
Next time I will share some of the things things I do between game sessions and before game day itself that I personally find make for a better game master experience for me at the table from week to week.
My favorite RPG that I never get to play is BESM: I have a copy of Big Ears, Small Mouse that I’ve played twice. It is a supplement to BESM, but uses animal and insect PCs and NPCs. I was a grasshopper mouse barbarian and my son was a dragonfly rogue, my husband ran it in a Redwall-like world. It was a fun game.
He had problems playing a fun furry character game (where everything was animals or insects). He’s more into Humanoids and Monsters like D&D. He couldn’t wrap his head around cute animal characters.
The most intellectual RPG I own is Chivalry and Sorcery, but I haven’t played it. Everyone else say that its too complicated, similar to Central Casting . It was mostly bought for the tables, and has great city creation rules although it’s very rule-heavy.
I had a multi-colored set of d6s that were specifically used for rolling character stats. They rolled great. One day I was making some Rifts NPCs for my husband and kept rolling over 20 (if you roll a 6 you keep rolling until you stop rolling 6). He banned me from rolling them again because I made some characters with almost superhuman stats. So they were retired. My new favorite dice are from the company DoubleSix. They are twelve-sided dice that come in double six, triple four and fate dice. The first two are my favorites. They roll much better than d6s.
My favorite character is the original playtest version of my Badgen race, his name was Stonefist. He was a barbarian, fighter. We did eventually have to tone him down, as he was unbalanced.
I made him by the savage species rules and even gave him less than the rules allowed. He started out in 3.0, upgraded him to 3.5 and then Pathfinder.
He was based on a half-orc/dire-badger cross, the frenzy rules for a badger didn’t allow him to exit rage without making a will save. I had a low will, so ended up having to be held, put to sleep or knocked unconscious. It was quite fun though. The picture to the left was drawn by one of the gamers in the group, it pictured him quite well.