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Selben commented on a post in r/videos
greyl 378 points

That's pretty sad really, were they just stealing one copy of each of those movies for personal use? Hell, you can get them for free, legally, at the library.

Selben 2 points

I wish more people went to their local libraries, some of them have free movies, video games, (books obv) and even 3D printers...

Selben commented on a post in r/mattcolville
Selben 1 point

I write a short story, typically not shared with the players for my villains. An entire backstory as to how they rose to power, and their childhood are not needed, unless you feel its important.

Glufor Stu Khan is a mighty Orc WarChief, terrorizing the land. Having acquired knowledge of a mighty magical item, sending out his loyal followers / henchmen to find fragments of this all-powerful artifact, which would give him the strength to crush any enemies he comes across, especially if he had all of the Orcish tribes by his side.

With that out of the way, I can make a simple (Flexible) timeline for Glufor Stu Khan.

Glufor has a few followers, sends out some of the weaker ones to collect artifacts / fragments for him. While he is trying to get other chieftains to join his war party, diplomacy even among Orcs is a lengthy process.

Party can either be hired, accidentally run into Glufor's followers (Possibilities endless) so then they decide its best to go out hunting through dungeons trying to find more of his minions for information, or just trying to recover the shards before he can.

Glufor may become aware a party keeps stealing fragments before his men are able or killing them. So now hes sending more powerful followers after this group.

Party may find out Glufor has been trying to unite the Orcish tribes, and either warn others or try to stop him before he becomes to powerful.

Glufor has united the tribes, and sends his generals out to hunt the party. Taking his terrifying army across the lands to claim the last fragments to create the ultimate weapon.

Glufor spends much of his time ordering around his minions and trying to decipher the locations of the shards. All the while trying to get the Orcish leaders to unite under one banner. Only when the party starts taking out more than a handful (group starts getting some levels) of his groups of followers or getting a decent amount of shards does he really pay attention to them. But even then he's a busy guy, so only sends his generals when either the army is almost complete or the artifact... or if the party is a decent level and it feels like a good point in the story to trigger that event.

In short, normally my bad guys are too busy to care about this level one or two party. Only once they start needing more of a challenge, or the group is starting to get the hang of the world we built do things come to a head.

Selben commented on a post in r/mattcolville
Selben 2 points

What major obstacles did you experience?

I was able to work out both issues, one was a time zone / schedule conflict. We would simply email instead - using at the time, Excel to place monsters. Giving them a journal 'report' on the progress of their minions, not telling them whether a party was the reason they lost a fortress, or if it was some other reason.

I had an issue where I could not reach my other villain for feedback, so I opted to just have him go quiet. This really confused the party as the trail had gone cold in their hunt for the maniac Orcish Warlord.

What obstacles did you anticipate? Did they end up being relevant?

I have two systems for a remote (Not actually at the table while we play) player villain, one is brainstorming with my PC villain, building a few dungeons and encounters. Letting the villain decide between a few different types of monsters or henchmen. Phrases the henchmen might use, as well as giving them the players journal so they know what has been going on (at least if any of their intelligent henchmen escaped the heroes with information) and let the villain know the general 'Big picture' plans but letting them decide how they would accomplish the goals, with some input from me.

The second method I used was for a villain who was in a very different timezone and we had conflicting schedules. So almost everything was email - we ended up making a bit of a point buy system, which he really enjoyed. I would send the map along with a write-up of what was happening in the world, and he would build his fortress / dungeon and add any special notes that he felt his 'Soldiers' would be following general orders.

Did you use any formal system to run the remote villain or was it purely narrative?

One system was just me basically building the adventure with a friend, giving him free reign over his villain and minions. 'What would Dranitar the Mighty do if?...' type of sessions. Letting him pick what kind of minions he would likely hire, what language would they speak. What orders do they have if "X".

The other was a bit more elaborate, but still somewhat easy to follow... I would give him the players journal from his perspective, if a party helped a town or stole gold from him then he would lose and gain access to certain resources. This was fairly time consuming, and ran as more of a RTS adventure - he had his goals, but how he accomplished them was up to him. 'You lost the fortress, and all the soldiers inside, but now know the hardy adventurers are heading west towards the mines. The men you sent to raid the village were able to take enough gold to buy the +1 swords you had wanted.'

He would then be given a map of the world, and locations of interest - he could "buy" NPC's and equip them with items, then send them out to complete his main objectives.

As I said before, this took much additional time and effort to prepare. However it made things very challenging for the players especially at the higher levels when they would choose to check out a suspicious dungeon and run into a horde of undead all wielding +1 maces and swords.

How often did you communicate with your villain?

Emails, phone calls, chat - but with and other options, I would for sure use these.

Did you tell your players that the villain is another player? Was there a big reveal at the end?

Big reveal every time!

If there was a reveal, was it worth it?

In both scenario's the group did not know the secondary villains were being directed by another player and we did the reveal at the end of each. Both times the parties enjoyed, it had been very challenging for them, since I tend to play and build dungeons one way. While my secret villain's tend to go a different direction.

pringledorf 2 points

Thanks for the detailed response, I really appreciate it. I find your concept of a "point-buy" system very appealing, and have devised something similar for my BBEG to use, which will hopefully represent his growing power in the world.

One challenge I'm facing is finding the "sweet spot" between running things narratively and mechanically... But I think I'm getting there. Considering you have some experience with running a remote villain, would you mind if I send you a copy of my homebrew rules for you to take a look over and point out any gleaming mistakes? Would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Selben 2 points

Sure, I can take a look.

Selben commented on a post in r/mattcolville
Selben 2 points

Don't want to step on toes, just a reminder.

Do all of your players have any experience with tabletop war-games?

Are you sure they will all be interested in a large scale battle?

If you think you might have some conflicts, you can always narrate the battle and zoom in on the players pushing up against a line of hardened enemy forces. Then have them pull back to help the left flank etc... Keep with the smaller battles that the party actually fights on their own, or strategic targets (The general over there etc...)

I love mixing in war-games personally, just remember some people want to play D&D and role-play.

Selben commented on a post in r/mattcolville
Selben 2 points

What do the followers of Yidhra want? (Usually immortality, but also it could be they have a dying village, that has had a poor yield of crops and dying livestock, they think that worshiping Yidhra may help save their people. Perhaps the group decides to try to help them?) Or to overthrow another cult - or to help their god / goddess rise once again, sending the party along with others of their cult deep into the tomb, or is she aware of the party original intentions (She perhaps has the blessing of their deity) and sends them deeper into the trap ridden chambers under false pretenses of recovering a lost artifact.

Could the paladin be gifted a special item that only they know about - that when placed at the bottom of the tombs it will give them something that only 'THE' champion can wield. (Holy Avenger?)

Also do you recall or have any notes of the table chatter during the session. Were they making any observations or joking about something. You can use this to help drive the story, sometimes players come up simple suggestions that you can just roll with. Sure they 'expected it' but it makes a heck of a lot less work for you.

Selben commented on a post in r/Aquariums
Selben 2 points

Reinforce the bottom the same as the top. Change out the 2x4 top with maybe plywood or particle board (Just use a sealer on all the wood, or stain and seal or just seal it for natural wood look. Easier to do than it sounds.) so its more flat (I made two tanks stands like this)

Here is an image of what I mean. Adding some plywood sides would also help dramatically with stability and looks much nicer.

Huskarrr 5 points

Wait is this open to the public or am I reading this wrong?

Selben 3 points

Open! Why not! - see my other post about session 1/2!

borobaron 2 points

I'm also curious. Is it a roll 20 or fantasy grounds game?

Selben 2 points
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Selben commented on a post in r/books
sotolf2 114 points

I'm more tired of all the gratouitous violence that are in the books, I find this way worse than sex, I'd rather read detailed descriptions of sex than how someone is mutilating someone else.

Selben 20 points

He raised his weapon and with a single swing dispatched the orc, the new shimmering weapon gave him enormous amounts of strength! He then headed down the side tunnel to rejoin...

'Woah, he had so much trouble fighting the orcs before, but now he took one out with one swing!'

We get it, orcs dead, our minds fill in the blanks with our own preferred level of violence - no need for extended detail needed! Again, a younger reader's mind will fill in the blanks as well - I like being able to tell my niece 'Here you will like this book!' and not have to consider "What will she think of someone describing pulverizing an orc until it looks like a strawberry milkshake all over the walls."

dabigchina 101 points

sometimes they seem to be shoehorned in for titllation.

Took the words right out of my mouth. 99% of the time, when I run into an endless sex scene, I roll my eyes and skim until i find something more relevant to the plot.

Selben 64 points

'They made passionate love for hours...' Done - let the reader fill in the blank, we now all agree the two of them were into each other. I don't need five pages describing what took place, I can fill in the gap. A younger reader will fill the gap with their own interpretation of what that means and still understand.

'Now were going dragon hunting, for the claw of a iron wing so we can save the kingdom from the dark lord Zul Drau Amon...' Back to the story lets go!

ColdFury96 220 points

Imagine being able to pay for on demand dictation whenever you want, and then being able to forget about it while still paying the bill.

I'm just imagining the poor dictation tech listening to the other end while $VIP & Selben talked about it. Trying to respond, but never being heard.

Selben 115 points

Yea, they initially (a year or so before) discussed having their internal software devs create an app to do this for him. Even in the long run it was WAAAY cheaper to just make an alternative "Easy button" solution instead.

Asselberghs 14 points

This is genius, I love it. I prefer the regular stories you do Selben, your stories are amazing but damn that comic is a nice addition to them.

Selben 10 points

Thank you! It was a bit of a surprise gift from my wife. Going to get this turned into a poster and go on the living-room wall for sure tho :D

SabreMogDawg 25 points

That was amazing, I love reading your stories but having it in comic form gave it another interesting angle, I would love to see more of these

Selben 13 points

Was a one shot deal for now, but I wanted to share!

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DaughterOfDevil 3 points

So many tray icons...

Selben 14 points

User: I Think there may be a compatibility issue with X and X!

Selben: Nope.

junior_mintzz 5 points

Is that a Lenovo t540? If so that is the same model I use at work too.

Selben 3 points

W550s, pretty similar model.

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A simple internet folk, seeking to expand his writing skills and sharing some life stories with others!

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About selben

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