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Site Proposals

Tabletop Role Playing Games

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I would love to be able to have a community here for Tabletop Role Playing Games. I think that the rpg.SE community what I miss most from my decision to not create free content for SE anymore.

For those not familiar, TRPGs are a broad genre of game, which includes games that have a lot of tactical planning (like wargame-style) as well as games that are more shared storytelling experiences without any concept of a "winner". The general thing that makes them distinctive (and thus likely to generate questions where more experienced community members can provide help) is that the list of things you can do is usually very open-ended. That is to say, while in a traditional board game you have some limited number of options about what you can do on your turn, in a TRPG you can usually attempt to do anything that makes sense within the game's narrative. Games then generally have some tools (such as rolling dice to determine if you succeed) that are employed by the players to help determine what happens next.

Some kinds of questions that could come up, and are helpful to have a Q&A site/community to answer:

  • A lot of the games have many rules to help determine what happens next, and it can be confusing to figure out how to apply them in a given situation.
  • Due to the open-ended nature of the games, there may not always be rules that clearly apply. Asking for "good subjective" experiences about how other people handled similar situations can be very helpful.
  • Many of these properties have established fictional worlds, and it can useful to know what the "lore" of a world is in order to tell stories within it.

I'm sure there's more, and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be putting in this box other than the idea. I was excited to get the (first?) email sent to the codidact announcement list saying that sites were starting to get created, so I figured I'd pop on and see if there was some way that this site could be created too. I'd be willing to put in some amount of effort to help, though I'm not sure what I could do.

Why should this post be closed?

19 comments

Welcome! Are there any features you would need that we don't already have? I can't think of any, but for example a science site would need Mathjax, so we'd want to know that. I used to love playing RPGs (alas, time...) and I agree there are rich opportunities here. You could end up with a blog category for game reports or reviews of new products too, if you wanted. Monica Cellio 2 months ago

@Monica I don't know all the features that you don't have, but from what I've seen I think you'd have enough to get started. rpg.SE does have Mathjax enabled, as sometimes one might want to get into some detailed probability math. But I think it's a small fraction of questions that would find that helpful, and I personally wouldn't see it as needed for launch. Peter Cooper Jr. 2 months ago

And just in case it's not obvious, I am in no way speaking for the "rpg.SE community", just for myself. Peter Cooper Jr. 2 months ago

Would such a site be restricted to tabletop RPGs, or would questions on other types of role-playing games be welcome? (I'm not familiar enough with RPGs to know if any such exist, but I did note this restriction in the suggested scope.) aCVn about 2 months ago

@aCVn It can be hard to draw strict lines between different genres of games, but the intention here is to limit to what's popularly known as "tabletop" and "live-action" (matching rpg.SE). The "computer" RPGs (like Final Fantasy or Skyrim), where the types of choices are limited to what the computer's been programmed to handle, would be off-topic. It can be a little tricky to define precisely, though, with it being very possible (and now popular) for people to play tabletop games remotely. Peter Cooper Jr. about 2 months ago

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4 answers

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I think this is a site that could do well here. RPGs are popular, numerous, and varied, and questions would also be varied -- questions about rules, questions about technique (playing a druid well, maintaining tension as a GM, designing resiliency to avoid TPKs, etc), questions about adventure design, questions about the storytelling aspects of games, questions about gaming styles and compatible systems... I think it's a target-rich environment, if you'll pardon the expression.

Some questions have come up that we should figure out, including:

  • Tabletop games or all non-computer RPGs? Or, as another answer proposes, just D&D and not all RPGs?
  • What should the name be? (Ties into the previous question.)
  • Are there enough people interested in building the site here? The votes tell us people are interested in general and we don't need a lot of people, but we do need some engaged participants who can build and shape the site. Where do we find them (without spamming)? Are they already here?

Not needed immediately, but I encourage folks to think about data import as part of scoping too. You can import all, some, or no content from SE. If you want to "tune" the scope here compared to SE but still bring over some data, you might choose to focus on particular tags. Just a thought. (The Speculative Science proposal is going down that path.)

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My main concern is the potential overlap with worldbuilding. However, I'd like to add some possible answers to the proposal requirements.

Scope

I think it makes sense to limit the site to tabletop RPG's. This is a specific but diverse category. I do not think limiting to just D&D is a good idea - a lot of people who play D&D may also pick up a game like Fate or WoD on the side and have questions about it. Additionally, most non-mechanical topics will have the same answers regardless of which system is being used (see the "Fluff" and "Metagaming" categories below).

Name

I would suggest The Tavern. I see two possibilities: either our name is descriptive, or it is somehow referential. Because of the specificity of the proposal, a descriptive name like "Tabletop RPG" is a mouthful - our scope doesn't include MtG (tabletop) or LARP (rpg). A tavern is a traditional RPG setting for characters to find refreshment, new quests, brawls, and information - only a dungeon is a more common trope.

We would then need a solid description where we can be specific about the site's scope and what is excluded.

Categories

I would suggest the following categories (possibly with more friendly names):

Crunch

A place to ask about mechanics and rules, including modifications. "How unbalanced is it to give a player a CR1 template in exchange for a level?" "Can I stabilize a fellow player as a bonus action?"

Fluff

Refers to things happening within the context of the game that are not mechanics based. "How can I make a puzzle seem challenging but not frustrating?" "How do I roleplay a mute character?"

Metagaming

Questions about things related to the game rather than the act of playing the game itself. "How do I get my players to show up on time?" "How do I tell my DM I want to play a different character?"

Blog

TTRPG's are all about telling stories, and telling those stories to others is incredibly fun as well. Adding a place for tales of creation and play would be a good way to bring activity to the site. (This might need to be a later addition to the site as I'm not sure we'll have enough activity at the beginning - I can personally submit something every so often but we'd need more than that.)

Meta

Building a Community

I think we could start with the community we have here since there seems to be decent interest. Word of mouth will be important at the beginning, Twitter and Tumblr are good places for this. Eventually we could do things like advertise on a podcast or sponsor some custom content.

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I mostly agree, though I wonder if categories or tags serve the first three areas better. (And I wouldn't call that "fluff"; some players are there primarily for the roleplaying and storytelling, with mechanics being merely a means to serve that end.) I'm not concerned about overlap with worldbuilding; some questions might work on multiple sites but mostly they'll have a focus that suggests one site or another. Monica Cellio about 1 month ago

Yeah, I'm not completely thrilled with this proposal, though I'd certainly participate if this is what happened. 1) I'm not a fan of naming it "The Tavern", as that sounds more like it's about homebrewing (as in beers, not as in rules) and there's plenty of games using other settings that a tavern wouldn't be appropriate for. It just seems more offputting than inclusive to me. Peter Cooper Jr. about 1 month ago

I wouldn't separate Crunch/Fluff/Metagaming at all (unless maybe with tags) since I see it all as being intertwined, trying to create an environment and using rules to help tell a story together. Some game systems might be more amenable to that categorization than others, I suppose, but many really wouldn't. Making a puzzle generally involves both rules and description, as would handling disabilities within a game. Peter Cooper Jr. about 1 month ago

In general, I think splitting out into a ton of subcategories to start with would be counterproductive. Maybe once we get enough people and questions that they start to get overwhelming, it makes more sense to then figure out how to best split them out into groups that help make them more manageable. But I'm totally on board with the "let's start, and go from there" mentality here. Peter Cooper Jr. about 1 month ago

Okay, so maybe we start with Q&A and only add other categories if we think we need them. I'm definitely okay with that as long as we have good tags to distinguish. Good point that "The Tavern" sounds like it's about homebrewing - I'm certainly not attached to it. Any other ideas? It's hard to come up with something common to all TTRPGs.... maybe just RPGs and specify in the description like SE? Sigma about 1 month ago

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There have been quite a few thoughts strewn about here (which is good, as I think the idea here is to get people talking about what we might want), so I'd like to put together my summary of what I hope to be a complete "proposal", based on the thoughts of the few people who have commented so far mixed in with my own preferences in some proportion. Nothing here is meant to be set in stone, but I'm hoping it's close enough that any changes (and yes, please suggest further updates) would be closer to "tweaks" than "rewrites". (And if you do want a rewrite, by all means please write up your own "answer".)

Name

Tabletop Role-Playing Games

(Identifies the topic fairly well, and is the general term used in the hobby as best as I know how. I'd rather more flavorful names be for things like chat rooms vs. the site as a whole.)

URL Slug

rpg.codidact.com

(Hopefully that's generic enough that if we add or contract scope it'd still be applicable while specific enough to identify the site. It also matches rpg.SE for whatever that's worth.)

Categories

Here's what I think we should start with:

  1. Q&A
  2. Stories (If you'd rather use something a little more generic like "Blogs" I'd be fine with that, but I think I want to emphasize that it's a place for people to tell their stories.)
  3. Meta (For discussion about site policies and such.)

Some ideas for possibilities that could be added in the future, but I think it'd be best to keep things simple to start and leave them out for now unless other people think they'd really add something that would help the community launch rather than make it just look empty to start:

  1. Expert Advice (like Longer-form topical how-to articles, maybe this would end up being more like "Blogs" or would be combined with it)
  2. Art/Minis/Battlemaps Gallery (or maybe Contests, for people to show off their neat creations)
  3. Idea Generation (Could maybe just be a part of "Q&A", but we could perhaps have something that's more open-ended and forum-like for "What monsters should the party encounter next" type questions which is a bit too subjective for a stricter main Q&A? I haven't really got this fleshed out in my head yet, it's just a starting point for discussion.)

Q&A Tags

Primarily game system (such as dnd-5e, pathfinder-2e, dungeon-world, fate-core, and so on), with other tags as naturally added (there may be some figuring this out as we go what other tags are actually useful).

On-Topic for Q&A

  1. Rules questions on understanding how a game works.
    • In D&D 5e, what squares does a 15-foot cone affect when we're playing on a grid?
    • In D&D 5e, when resolving Magic Missile which sends out three darts, do I roll a die for each individual dart separately or just one die total and use the same one for each dart?
    • In Fate Accelerated, if I make a "mook" with two stress boxes, does the second stress box handle two shifts or still only one?
  2. "Good subjective" questions on best handling cases (and making house rules) that official rules leave open-ended.
    • In D&D 5e, how do I adjudicate when a player wants to put manacles on an unwilling creature in combat?
    • In D&D 5e, how do I determine which beasts a Druid is likely to have seen in their lifetime and can thus wildshape into their form?
    • In Star Wars Saga Edition, how long does an energy cell last in a vibrobayonet?
  3. "Good subjective" questions on how to handle encounter design and player-to-player interaction.
    • How do I make an encounter challenging to the experienced players at the table without it being overwhelming to the newer players?
    • How do I keep other players focused on the game (instead of distracted by their phones or the like) when it's someone else's turn?
    • How do I best describe players taking damage so that it's more immersive than just a hit point statistic changing?
    • What do I do if I think a player is cheating with their die rolls?
  4. Questions about the lore of published RPG settings.
    • Whose portrait is on the gold coins of Waterdeep in the Forgotten Realms?
    • In Eberron, can a changeling easily change where he received an injury or cut so it doesn't look injured at all?
    • In Umdaar, what artifacts are known to be in the Crystal Ruins?
  5. Questions about math likely to come up in using or designing RPG systems.
    • How does D&D 5e's "advantage" mechanic change the expected outcome?
    • What is the probability of a character surviving using D&D 5e's Death Saving Throw system after they fall to 0 hit points?
    • How can I easily simulate Fate/Fudge dice (that I don't have) using dice that I do have?

Off-topic for Q&A

  1. Questions about Computer RPGs.
    • Does Skyrim prevent me from killing characters that are critical to the plot?
    • Does the Baldur's Gate game scale difficulty based on the level of my character? But Note: Some questions involving Computer RPGs might be on-topic if it's primarily about the lore and setting, not about the game itself, if that setting is also used in tabletop RPGs. Also, questions about playing tabletop games using electronic tools like Roll20 and D&D Beyond would be fine, too.
  2. Questions about board or card games. Sometimes the line on these can be a bit fuzzy, especially in the "setting" questions where for instance there are Magic: the Gathering settings that also have published rules for D&D. I'd tend to err on the side of allowing anything "borderline" for now, at least if there are people willing to answer them. But I'd expect that asking questions about Magic: the Gathering gameplay itself, or even D&D-inspired games like Three Dragon Ante, would be off-topic unless others feel differently.

Stuff I'm not completely sure on, but I'm leaning toward off-topic:

  1. Which RPG should me and my friends play? Though this could work, it'd need a lot of scoping and detail in order to really help someone, and is probably better addressed through a chat system or through a blog/wiki/etc. that presents games and what they're good and not as good at.
  2. Questions primarily about real-world history and economics, even when RPGs are based on them Again this could be scoped somewhat and answerable, and RPGs grew out of wargaming and historical simulations, so there certainly could be questions about how the middle ages actually worked that'd be relevant to playing a game based on that, but I'd be inclined to encourage people to search elsewhere unless we attract a community here that's knowledgeable and wanting to answer such things.
  3. Questions about LARP (Live-action Role-playing) This seemed to confuse people that it might be included since I used the term Tabletop, and I'm not sure we have a community ready to try to answer these questions. I'm welcome to include them if there are good Questioners and Answerers around who want to do so, but if there aren't it may be easier to just exclude it at least to start just to try to keep things simpler at first.

Importing from RPG Stack Exchange

My initial inclination is just to build our own database here rather than trying to import a ton of information with very little being "original" Codidact content. It would be neat (though I assume difficult and not at the top of the priority list) to be able to import specific questions or answers over. Like if there's a question here which is a "duplicate" of one on rpg.SE, it'd be great if there were a button to be able to easily copy the answers for it over from there. Assuming that's not happening, then maybe we should work in the early days to come up with a standard CC-license-compliant way or template for people to use to cite any worthwhile answers from there.

Building a Community

It seems to me like we have enough interest here to get started (and if you're reading this and interested but haven't yet done so, please leave a comment somewhere on if you're willing to participate, or at least upvote the "question" here so we know that there's interest). I am willing to answer questions about the aspects I'm familiar with (which is primarily D&D 5e though I've dabbled in some other systems).

One idea I've had (which I think I got from something linked somewhere by somebody from the topic I posted in general Meta Q&A on how to advertise) is to schedule some sort of regular weekly Q&A "event", like saying "Fridays are the main Q&A day" or something like that. That is, while people would be welcome to post questions and answers at any time, there would be some specific weekly day (or times?) that it'd be encouraged, to try to set that expectation that there might not be a lot of people using the site for a lot of the week (it's hard to get people to add one more site to the list of sites they check regularly), but that by some-time-period it's likely that everyone using the site would have seen it. And maybe people contributing content (blogs/stories/whatever) would be using that timeframe for when to post their weekly entry. Just a thought, and probably can be significantly refined.

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On import, while there's no UI for it (and that's not planned soon), we can import questions selectively. The community could assemble a list of links to specific questions and we could pull those over, so you can cherry-pick those few valuable posts that would be a hassle to recreate here. Monica Cellio about 1 month ago

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Soooooo, maybe I'm in the minority here but I'll throw this out as a possibility. I'm a D&D fan. I'm not really interested in other tabletop RPGs — and in fact, I'd be most interested in a codidact site only about D&D.

If I look at the top ten game system tags on rpg-se, I see, in order:

  • dnd-5e: 15,948 questions (10 today, 64 this week)
  • pathfinder-1e: 6,518 (0 today, 5 this week, 21 this month)
  • dnd-3.5e: 5,261 (0 today, 11 this week, 42 this month)
  • dnd-4e: 2,655 (0 recently)
  • dungeons-and-dragons: 840 (0 today, 0 this week, 16 this month)
  • system-agnostic: 508 (0 recently)
  • world-of-darkness: 453 (0 recently)
  • savage-worlds: 316 (0 recently)
  • fate: 311 (0 recently)
  • shadowrun-sr5: 265 (0 recently)

So.... what if we just made this a D&D q&a site?

  1. That's where the action is.
  2. It would save us the horrible charade of "Oh, we can't possibly guess what system your question about a dragonborn warlock's 11th-level mystic arcanum feature could be about, so we're closing your question" that is pretty much every new user's introduction to RPG-se.
  3. It'd be easier to find and promote

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Hmm. I can see some advantages to starting small and limiting it to D&D, though many questions applicable to D&D also apply to some other systems (especially for some systems like Pathfinder). And there are a lot of D&D editions, which have some amount of shared history (both in terms of terminology and in terms of lore) but have some very different rules. Though with the "categories" concept that seems to exist here, having one category for D&D-type systems among other categories might help? Peter Cooper Jr. about 2 months ago

Throwing this out in response: How about one category "Dungeons & Dragons" and one category "Other Systems"? aCVn about 2 months ago

In every D&D campaign I've been part of, whether as player or GM, we've ended up making a lot of modifications to the rules. This will raise the question of "when is D&D not D&D any more?". I mean, I think we've stayed on-theme and stuck reasonably close, but if I describe house rules in the context of asking a question, is that going to be a problem? Also, I'd probably have more questions about adventure design than systems; how does that fit in? Monica Cellio about 2 months ago

@Monica As I tried saying in my initial post (though I could expand on it when I get time), sometimes one is looking for what the "rules as written" say to at least understand how "the book" would answer the question, even if one plans on adding house rules or otherwise changing things to match the storytelling the group is going for. rpg.SE accepts "I'm thinking about modifying rule X, how will that impact the classes in our campaign so everybody still feels 'balanced'?" and we could too. Peter Cooper Jr. about 2 months ago

Your resident wod player is skeptical. Apart from the fact that a lot of questions apply to all systems, a lot of people play more than one system. Declaring other games off topic would drive those folks elsewhere. Sigma about 2 months ago

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