Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Problems with Stack Exchange

Normally I don't get too involved with ranting. Most of the time it's counterproductive, but I'm gonna do it today. My rant, I gotta problem with Stack Exchange. I'm not a big fan of people telling me what is a valid question and what is not. So far I've seen some other pinheads tell other their question does not have a real answer, that they are argumentative and subjective questions. *1, 2, 3, 4, 5...* Screw it.

Maybe some people who are involved with the Stack Exchange don't realize a lot of gaming is based on being subjective with hopefully a minimal amount of arguing. Check out the hundreds of blogs out there. There are to real answers. It's all opinion. Unless you are asking for exact information such as how many HD does a troll have in AD&D. Most know this. But if I or someone asks a question that might not be the most intelligent then ignore it and move on to another question. Don't bog me down with your censorship bullshit. Maybe someone will have a great answer that I never thought of.

Second problem is when someone edits my question and makes it ask a question I did not ask. I've asked one question and I already had one guy edit it. He took away two my tags that I wanted and switched words around to make my question different. Oh boy I was pissed. Had to go back and change it back to the way I had it the first time.

Third problem ties in with the second above, where someone decides the tags you have to identify your question, are not correct and need to be changed.

Maybe Stack Exchange is not for me. If I have check on my questions to make sure someone hasn't changed it around or messed with the tags I won't be spending too much time on there. They have a peer review system with votes. If you don't like it vote it down. I'm cool with that. If I ask an incredibly dumb question and there are a lot of down votes than I'll check it out and see what I did wrong.

Okay, feel better now. A little. I'll hang out a little longer. Some of the questions and answers (most of with are opinion OMG) are great. But as for the long run, I don't see it staying in my bookmarks very long.

Friday, August 27, 2010

6 Steps to Starting a Small Campaign

I was poking around Stack Exchange (thank you Rob for providing yet another excuse for me not to write) and answered a few questions. One question was how to begin a campaign quickly without using a canned setting. Here are the 6 steps (the 7th is optional) to getting started in a minimal amount of time.

1. Map out village, town or keep and the surround wilderness. This will give the players a base of operations, a place to heal, sell off treasure, upgrade their gear and gather information.
Don't be a perfectionist. Have fun. Don't worry about if the river is running in the correct direction. More than likely you will want to draw two maps, one of the surrounding wilderness and one of the town/town/keep.

2. Detail more important and frequented sites such as a temple, the lord's estate, a shop or two, a guild hall and of course a tavern.
If you think about it players visit only a few places. Keep a GM notebook handy when they decide to visit something you hadn't detailed. Wing it, but write down what you did so you can be consistant and develop it later.

3. Detail the important NPCs the players will encounter and plug them where needed. These should include a couple guards, a shop keeper, cleric, a few mercenaries/torch bearers for the players to hire, and of course a barkeep for your tavern. I think it's also important to stock a few generic NPCs that are not assigned to anythign on creation, but say the players visit an area or home that you hadn't detailed, wha-la you already have an NPC ready to go.
Keep a notebook as your players adventure to keep track of the new NPCS and places you'll need to create. Who knew they would go visit a washer woman to get advice on how to care for their linens in the wilderness.

4. Now check out your wilderness area and select a few locations and put something interesting there. Could be a home of a crazed mage who calls everyone Ned, a broken statue with faded runes, or hey, a dungeon entrance. When doing this don't be heavy handed, a few scattered sites will do.
A sure way to make a place more interesting is just add ruins. These can be home to some horrible critters that have been terrorizing the countryside, the top level of a dungeon and or a place for the players to rebuild and call home.

5. Develop adventures from a few of the interesting places. My advice is to include at least one old fashion dungeon crawl. It doesn't have to be a mega dungeon (it can turn into one later, maybe the players never found that secret concealed invisible door that can only be opened on the full moon the first time around that leads to the next of a billion and two levels) keep it simple and small at first. Some of the other area should be lairs for one kind of creature or another. These places are also great for planting seeds for future adventures.
Most enounters/adventures should be level appropriate, but there is nothing wrong with putting out on bad ass encounter the players have little to no chance with. This will give them a goal when they reach higher level. An 'I'll be back' moment.

6. After placing interesting points and developing a few small adventures go back into the town/village/keep and sprinkle in information to various NPCs. What they know, why they know it and if they are telling the truth. To get the players to go into the old copper mine might be something as simple as one of the farmer's lost his favorite goat inside and pleads with them to help. Also this is a chance to develop local folklore. One local wine merchant may speak of the night of she devils who harass his workers in the field. They come once a week so they have begun tying out a cow fo them schreeching devils to take. When the players investigate they might find a nest of harpies in the nearby forest.

7. (optional) Develop broad sketchs of the world around your chunk of land. Maybe whose kindgom it is in. Different cultural aspects of a neighboring barony or country. If you have multiple races you may want to know where they originated and so on. But that's when you start slipping to a larger campaign. This is something you may want to develop if your campaign is going to be bigger than the area you developed.

Starting small is great for jumping into a campaign quickly. One campaign I ran for over three years never left a one hundred mile area. The players never realized this. They were shocked of how small of an area they explored when I showed them my world map. The reason I like this method is much of your campaign world will be developed on the go. Lots of winging it and I know for me that's when I do my best, but then you also need to take good notes so next time the players visit the GM can be consistant.

It's Friday everyone. Have a great weekend and get some gaming in.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Excitement for the Game

I'm not going to comment on what was posted by Frog God Games. I read the apology from Bill Webb on Chgwiz blog and that's good enough for me. I'm not one to hold a grudge, but I do hope FGG can deliver. I am writing this because of his comment about products from Lulu and what my experience has been.

I think we can all agree that the largest drawback of Lulu is the shipping costs. Over this summer they did a free shipping promotion and I took advantage of it.

The books I've purchased from Lulu:
Monsters of Myth by The First Edition Society
Stonehell Dungeon: Down Night-Haunted Halls by Michael Curtis
OSRIC, economy by Stuart Marshall
Monster Listing by Daniel Proctor
Labyrinth Lord Revised Edition (perfect bound) by Daniel Proctor
Advanced Edition Companion (perfect bound) by Daniel Proctor
Fight On! Issue #4 Winter 2009 by Ignatius Umlaut
Fight On! Issue #3 Fall 2008 by Ignatius Umlaut
Fight On! Issue #2 Summer of 2008 by Ignatius Umlaut

These are not books I look at and toss to the side. These are books I look at regularly and I think they are top notch quality. The only one I had a problem with was the Monster Listing. I thought the price was too high and the quality of the book was poor. The layout had the text crammed to the very edges of the page and it was a weird size, half inch taller than a digest size and a skosh wider. The contents were exactly as described. The other LL books are well done and sturdy.

All of the other books mentioned above are as good as say, Pathfinder or D&D. There may not be as much flash, gloss or art, but the quality of the content cannot be argued. All these products have the excitement of the game imbued in their words and the hand drawn maps (which I personally think are the best). I don't remember what movie this quote is from (I believe it was Immortal Beloved, Gary Oldman as Beethoven) and I know I am going to chop this up "To miss a few notes means nothing, but to play without passion is unforgivable".

Best of luck to Matt and Bill. Let's see what they can do.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shifting Into the Next Stage of the Game

The set up session. Not the most exciting of sessions, but necessary at times especially when you play in a weekly 3 hour session. Three hours sounds like a long time and if your waiting in a doctor's office I believe that is a measurable eternity, but in gaming time it's not lomg at all. Last night we had a set up session. We had completed our major goals in the campaign, Syrinvald visited all the mage circles he needed to do for his research. Oelander found a sword of power, Blackrazor, but traded it to the verdian council when he discovered its evil side. He got a pretty nice sword in exchange.

All of us have reached 7th level during these adventures (almost 8th level for me). The game has began to shift focus. We are no longer building our characters as much as establishing them within the game world. We've been able to establish a decent treasury, have a base in the world's largest city with access to a magical portal, and all of us have lots of interesting items to provide us the power to begin establishing ourselves.

First off as part of our working with the verdian council, giving them Blackrazor to destroy, killing off demons and proving information, we have come to an agreement with the council to give us land. We will have to foot the bill to develop it. Also in the hopper is a war that is raging to the north, within the foothills are ancient forts long gone to the weather. We are planning to reestablish one of them, refortify the area and help in the war.

This session we spent setting this up. Much of it was spent trying to solve our transportation issues (being hundreds of miles between places), hippogriffs were sorta of a solution, but not quite. That may be another project on the back burner. Not to mention a run in with an ostler who kills them. The above mentioned land grant and an either or for a group of thugs. Luckily, we had developed our characters enough with reputation and connections that while some told us to piss off, most soiled themselves and decided to join us.

Even though it was not an action packed session it is the foundation of the next stage for our characters.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Progress Update

I've been looking about the blogoshere lately and wow there is a frenzy of activity. With James's Weird Fantasy being released and JB's B/X Companion releasing some stellar products and oh, there was this little thing called Gen Con not so long ago. One of these years I may get there.

I saw Rob give a progress report on his Scourge of the Demon Wolf so I thought I would give one of my own. I feel like a complete slacker compared to these others.

Anyways, just checked my Starter Adventures and it has been downloaded 330 times since June 16. Way more than I expected. I thought I would get a 100, Rob said I should get 200. Haven't heard of anyone using them yet so if you have let me know how it went.

The adventure I am working on is call, Knowledge Illuminates. It's a working title right now and may be tossed for another one. Currently the first draft is done. But of course I started tweaking it so the first draft was not all the way done, but almost done. Going to have Rob redo my maps. There is no art to speak of just a simple adventure in a two column format.

The premise is its a low level adventure, but with a couple of hooks for future, high level adventures. The 'dungeon' is an old alchemist worshop. It is a one, possibly two session adventure. The cool thing about it is in the end low level character may have a base of operations and a resource they can use or sell. More information coming.

Have a good gaming week people.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top 5 Gamer Snacks

That's right, when you got nothing to write about make a top 5 or a top 10 list. After three decades of gaming I have tested these over and over again to make sure only the best snacks of ALL-TIME made this list. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

1. Pizza (any): Is there any doubt what would be number one. Pizza, the food of gods and devils and of kings and peasants, comes in just as many varieties as gamers do. If all else fails extra cheese and pepperoni. Can't go wrong. Be warned, it has been proven that pizza stains can last for 25 years.

2. Cheetos (the original, none of those damn puffed or 'healthy' crappy ones): At number two these little sticks of orangeness have marked their territory anywhere they have been ingested. One of my favorite combos with an ice cold can of Coke.

3. Doritos (any): By far these are the smelliest of snacks on the list. Be it cool ranch, nacho, butt munch or toe cheese flavor they all smell a lot. The only way to beat them is to join them. Don't plan any dates afterwards unless you brought a whole tube of toothpaste and an SOS pad.

4. Popcorn: There is some debate with this selection. I had trouble choosing this one, but after some thought I knew it needed to be included. Popcorn rocks. With butter, forgedabotit. The problem is some, and unfortunately a high percentage of gamers have questionable hygiene practices. You know it. I know it. The world around us knows it. So those who believe washing hands after bathroom visits is an option, those who decide mining for gold isn't just for dwarves, do you really want them stick their hand into the same bowl you're eating from? The easy solution would be having separate bowls, but that is hardly an option since gamers are experts at minimizing dishes. So grab a sheet of notebook paper and pile a nice helping onto it. No grubby fingers in your stash.

5. The fifth one is tough. I was going to mention fast food. McDonalds, Burger King or god forbid Taco Bell, but being a generous soul and one who needs to go to work in a few minutes I'll leave this one blank for others to fill in since my first four selections are iron clad. So what was your favorite snack and the pros and cons of such a thing?

On a side note, sometimes what can make gaming a little more fun, especially if you're the host is to put out things just to see if the others will eat them. I know I've experimented with this. My intent was not to poison my fellow gamers especially since it would have been my bathroom they would have used, but just to see what these iron stomach gamers would consume.

I believe the most infamous incident was the Day of the Green Cheetos. You read me right. They turned green and not in a good Dr. Seuss way. These bad boys had a genetic failure. I put a bowl of them in the middle, called them Frankenstein Fingers and they were gone before the first round of combat of completed. No one got sick. No one complained of a strange flavor. They just rolled dice and drank too much pop (or soda to all you others out there).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Organizing All My Crap

How long does it take for a gamer to organize his crap? I have no idea because I am still doing it. I have a finished adventure binder which is tiny thin and I have two fat ass binders full of unfinished adventures. Like a knucklehead I have various stage of doneness of modules but have no idea which ones are the most done. So I have to go through them one at a time and get focused on them. One at a time. Ha. Good luck to me on that one.

I also have a lot of peices of writing on my campaign. Those are sort organized. I have them in one spot in one folder. Where as my adventures were on my computer, a laptop, a couple of flash drives and on a harddrive from my old computer the chocked and puked a while back. I've been toying with a combination of systems for my own home brew.

Then there is the matter of limited shelf space. I like my games so I have had to clip a few of the dead braches away. This would include all my 1st ed Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Shadowrun and a few midules and suppliments from various things I don't much care for. I've tucked them away not sure quite yet what to do with them. Maybe I'll have a Monty Haul Day.

I've been absorbing the rules of Labyrinth Lord plus the advanced. Been enjoying it quite a bit that and finishing off the bits of the Adventure Path of Kingmaker. I got the PDF for the final one a few weeks back, but have yet to get the print copy. Says is takes 5 to 8 days to deliver and the previous installments were here quick. Well its now 15 days past the delivery date, sent two emails to Pazio and have yet to get a response. Any suggestions out there? Never had a problem with this until now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

POV of a Dungeoneer

It can get ugly quick three hundred feet below air. Hell, it can real ugly a few feet in. Dwarves or no dwarves, going underground is dangerous. Forget for a moment about the all the critters that can lurk in nearly every corner. It’s dark. I am not talking about its night and the moon is not out dark. I am talking about a blackness, a complete absence of light. This makes all the other problems worse.

Another huge problem is the simple act of walking. Uneven ground, stalagmites, slick rocks, cracks and holes. All of them can snap an ankle in a moment. A buddy of mine, a soldier, mercenary and known bad ass broke his leg and arm within the first 100’. It’s hard to be a hero when you’re on your back. Survival tip, always go with three of four companions and make sure one of them has some experience underground.

The cold. The cold can slowly sap the strength out of you. You would think all that moving around would keep you warm, but that cold creeps inside and waits. It waits for those times when you need to rest. So it’s critical to keep warm. Fires are usually a bad choice. Primarily there is little to no ventilation not to mention you are alerting anyone in the area where you are. Warm clothes and magical devices that can be picked up at most magic shops are best. If you fall asleep without a way to keep warm you’ll wake up dead.

Water. Underground water is one of the worst things you can come across. One, you don’t know how deep it is. Could be a few inches deep, could be a few hundred feet down. It’s freezing. I saw a cocky rogue drop in a small pool and he froze to death before we could put him out. And a little known fact is sometimes that still water has gases trapped beneath. If you disturb that water the gases are released and that never ends well.

Collapses. You got a whole lot of hard stuff above you waiting to come down. You never know when it’s going to happen. This is one of those things you can’t prevent and can’t prepare for. A good dungeoneer can see the signs of this danger, but predicting when or how much that will come down only the gods know.

The critters that lurk in the darkness tend to be nastier than their cousins aboveground. Even the smallest of creature is armed with deadly poison. These creatures tend to strike from a hiding place and let their poison do the work for them. Once you are paralyzed or crippled they come put and eat your head off.

Traveling unexplored anywhere is dangerous, but when you do it underground all those dangers multiply by 100. The simple things that you can take for granted above ground can kill you underground. Stick with trusted companions, move slow, stay warm, avoid the water, and stay safe as you possibly can. I know your reasons for traveling beneath the ground may be important and I hope these little helpful hints will help you reach your goal.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kingmaker Adventure Path Conclusion

When Pazio first announced their sandbox style AP I was excited and subscribed. I had already bought the Core Rules and Bestiary and liked them so why not take a chance on an AP. The one thing that is for sure, Pazio does not half ass their quality of the books they put out. All are sturdy and look fantastic. My comments are vague at times because I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone.

The first Kingmaker adventure out is The Stolen Land. It's very good. I was happy to have my excitement satisfied. My expectations were high and were met. The second, Rivers Run Red, is much like the first. It completes the bottom half of the map from the Stolen Lands. In this adventure they give you the basic rules to start building cities and eventually a kingdom. I like their streamline rules, they are easy to use as is and easy to tweak to your liking. These two, in my opinion, are more like adventure path 1a and 1b.

The Varnhold Vanishing, the third in the series, has the coolest boss. In this one the players using the same set up as in the first two, but this time to expand their kingdom. To find resources, make allies, exterminate enemies and to show those snotty little neighbors to the north you didn't inherit your kingdom, but forged it from sweat and blood. Varnhold did a good job of taking the AP to the next level.

Blood for Blood. You need to defend you kingdom from very big things that want to crush you like a bug. Exploration is needed. Again the wilderness hex map is used and off the players go to defeat horrible monsters. This is where the adventure path, for me, starts to break down. It continues to use the same format as it did in the previous adventures. I understand, but now the players have developed their land they are defending it from their enemies. Don't get me wrong it is still very good and interesting, but the format of the adventure seems to be holding onto the shirt tail of the party and keeping them from developing farther.

The 5th installment, War of the River Kings, is where the format needed to be changed. Especially for this kind of adventure. It seemed forced at this point. I understand the need for continuity between product, but this one was trying to accomplish different goals than the first three, but they were still using the same blueprint. The storyline is great, situation feels organic and develops well, but I would have liked to have seen a different way to approach this adventure. Something that suited the situation better. The players are no longer in an exploration mode, but defenders of a kingdom and those are two very different beasts.

The final entry, The Sound of a Thousand Screams, is a great conclusion to the AP. Here they finally seem to break out of the format used in the precious products. They needed to and did. This adventure feels like the epic it should be. The players at this point are reaching their end game and this one lets them go out with a bang. No, I won't give you any details.

Overall, I loved the Kingmaker AP and definitely glad to have it on my gaming shelf. The problems I had with the middle adventures I plan to tweak, but still use their content. Everything they include is useful. I haven't even mentioned all the extras they tag on the end of their adventures. It's like getting a mini bestiary or magic items or culture addition. These are well worth the money. I've already spoken about the physical quality of the books and the content is even better.

The best compliment I can give this AP is I would suggest it to my friends and have. And now to all of you out there. If you've never subscribed or been through an adventure path scenario then I suggest you start with the Kingmaker series. It was a lot of fun to read. Now I just need to find the time to run it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting to the Dungeon

Finding the way through the forest is not a simple matter, but for gaming purposes we general gloss over the ability of an adventuring party finding the dungeon. After all we want them to get there. That is the adventure. The place you wrote for hours developing and creating devious things to happen and incredible things to find. What if part of the adventure was finding the place? Instead of finding it by a vague rumor in a tavern spoken by a drunken one handed wizard, "there is a great cave in the mountains to the north. Unspeakable horrors guard a fallen weapon of the gods."

North, eh?

How many times have the players grabbed their backpacks, headed north, and found the dungeon entrance in the vast mountain range? I know I've done it and will do it again. Sometimes it's just best to get them to the adventure, but I do like the trip and even before the trip eventful and challenging in some way. Let's go back to the tavern and that one handed wizard, I shall name him Vern. Vern is drunk and now he's said something that perks the ears up of the party. They want to know more. But that's all Vern knows. He was killed in the cave (and that's when he acquired his drinking problem) and was resurrected later in town. He says his friend, Henry the Bold might know.

Henry lives in a farming village not too far out of town, but he has recently lost his wife to a sickness. He is no mood to speaking to idiots who want to kill themselves. If the party can convince Henry, maybe the GM leaves a few clues on how to penetrate Henry's personality. Maybe after discussing the player's own experience of loss Henry finally gives in, "I remember being a strong headed adventurer like you. Did it with a lot less back then. But I suppose you're going up either way so I'll warn you. There are creatures that living in the walls. They wait till you pass and grab the last one in line. I never did see what they were. Even when I shined my torch on one I killed I still couldn't figure out what I was looking at. Anyway, you'll want to talk to George, he was the rogue in our group. He knew where to find it. Even had a map if I recall. He's still in the city. He runs a used weapon shop or something. Greedy son of a bitch. So bring coin or you'll never hear where that cave is at let alone get that map."

In this example these two encounters can happen quickly enough to give the players a sense of accomplishing something. Even though it is drawn out at least they are picking up the trail. On to George in the city. George is more difficult to locate. He works with the thieves guild and if the players ask questions to his location some local thugs may attempt to thump the party to tell them to stay away from George. Of course the party will usually turn that thumping around onto the thugs and find out the location of the elusive George.

George knows the players are coming and greets them warmly. "Friends. I apologize for my overzealous companions. They only do what they are told and so the fault lies with me. Tell me what you need so I can amend my mistake." When the party asks about the cave George will pace and shake his head. "I remember that place. It was a horrible place. But that was many years ago and after our party was slaughtered we ran leaving much of our supplies and equipment behind." Threats don't work against George. He deflects them with compliments and good cheer. But if the party scrounges up enough coin he will begin to remember, but ask for a favor. "Since you seem to be favored by the gods in ambition and strength I ask a humble request that when you return from your conquest that you allow me to buy some of the trivial baubles you find." If the party agrees and provides the coin he will give the players the map.

This is where a nice wilderness map is perfect. The GM knows which way the players are headed and can develop area maps. There can even be clues on the map that was given to them. Maybe a note about wyverns live here, crumbling tower over there and strange carving on this rock. This gives the players landmarks to check their progress on the map and provides the GM several opportunities to test the players and also to provide hints of what to expect in the adventure and maybe a clue or two about what they will need to be successful.

I know sometimes just getting to the dungeon what is needed, but I think a build up to an adventure provides role playing opportunities and development of character outside their spells and chances to hit.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Board Game Marathon

This weekend Dwayne is coming in so our group will be in one room again. I tell you it has been nice because this has been happening a little more often these days. He suggested we have a board game marathon this weekend. Dwayne is an avid collector or board games and rarely gets to play them. The one he is bringing in that I am interest playing is Tomb. I just watched the video and it looks like a lot of fun.

The other board game he mentioned was the Babylon 5 game. I had a hard time finding anything about this one. All of us liked Babylon 5 so it should be interesting.

It's been several years since we've gotten together and done a marathon anything let alone board games. Back then we played a lot of Civilization, Risk (which we had a monster game last time) and they always liked to play those massive WWII games with all the chits. I always hated those. Chits being knocked over and an hour to finish one turn. Not for me.

Looking forward to tomorrow. My wife is aware she will be a gaming widow for the weekend so I am sure I will come home and the house will be decorated for Halloween. She is late this year, it's August 6th and only five pumpkins have appeared. Halloween in not a holiday to her, it's a season.

Have a good Friday everyone and I hope the Gen Con people remember to bathe.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

White Plume Mountain Revisited

In my last post JB over B/X Blackrazor asked me some questions about WPM. It got me to thinking of some of more recent posts especially the one about what happens to dungeons that have been plundered. To answer JB's question, I went through WPM plenty of times, but that was many a year ago when there were no DVDs, no home computers, CDs and a VCR were high tech. Rob did not change the module around, but we didn't know what the background was. We investigated where a sword of power might be located and this one was the closest.

We were informed that there were three weapons of power located within. All of us were 6th level at the time and we tromped through the dungeon and got Wave quickly. We got very lucky killing the 15HD crab. It nearly snipped Ashling into a Halfling. I scored a crit hit and so did Oelander. One more round in the bubble and I would have been bait.

After capturing Blackrazor we decided to leave. We knew there was one more weapon of power, but we were pushing it. There are at least four times where it could have been a TPK. So we decided to head out with Wave and Blackrazor and consider ourselves lucky. I think this is one of the few times when a party decided to bail out with what we had instead of getting greedy and wanting everything.

Now this links into one of more recent posts, Dungeons Revisited. The dungeon wasn't cleared out. The big wizard wasn't killed. He just yelled at us for killing his guardians. The next crew that goes in will find it mostly empty except for the hammer. Will the wizard restock the rooms? Reset the traps? Find more treasure to guard? I think it would be (and I am sure people have done this) taken a classic adventure and recreated after a few adventuring parties had gone through. What would claim it? What alterations would be made? When I think of this kind of thing I think of the Tomb of Horrors (not the Return to the Tomb of Horrors although that has its merits) and developing it a new after several years of adventurers tromping through the hallways, falling into the pits, getting squished and just plain dying.

I have no plans of doing this because I suck at finishing the billion adventures I have half done so no need to add another. But if someone out there knows of someone who has done this please drop a link and let me know. I would love to take a look at it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gaming Night

Cast of Dubious Characters

GM: Rob 'I could kill you with my thumb' Conley
Oelander: Dwayne
Syrinvald: Rusty was absent and his character has never been so competent
Ashling: Me

Last night's game was a bit disjointed. After an interruption to run a 4 year old to an ice cream social and a few rounds of CoD: Modern Warfare 2 we managed to pick through a revised White Plume Mountain adventure. Oelander sought out a sword of power. As a group we are beginning to make noise and attracting the attention of lords of impending doom. And Oelander thought it might be a good idea to get a decent weapon to chop them up. Fair enough.

Rob ran White Plume Mountain and adventure I had not been on in decades. I remembered bits, but just enough to get me killed. I secured Wave, the powerfully cool trident from the gi-gundo crab. So Ashling is sporting a very big fork these days. We managed to get by a few tricky traps that Dwayne figured out. One of them, the Frictionless Room was a beast.

We made short work to the zagguart room. The ogre magi could have been very bad news, but we managed to take it out with a few ingenious mauvers by me. Not really, but the loot was tremendous. If Ashling was the nesting type of guy he would be very cozy now. Oelander scored his sword of power, Blackrazor, but everyone we met along the seemed to warn us about him having it. *Even though I had the module I did not peek*

Along the way we allied with a Bronze Dragon which was unusual. It seems to be preening us for later use. When we returned to Virdistan, the big city, we volunteered 10% of our loot to the council. Did you read that folks? I'll spell it slowly, we v-o-l-u-n-t-e-e-r-e-d 10% of our loot. You may think we were brown nosing and we are, but having a city council member as an ally is a huge boon. Our house and staff was being harassed by a gang, the council member took care of it.

After some discussion it was agreed to destroy the sword. We walked all that way only to get a sword we are going to scrap. At least I got my big fork.

We are taking a break next week from Rob's game since Rusty is enjoying a long and I am sure well earned vacation. Next week we will be playing Dwayne's GURPS campaign. My character in that campaign is a lot of fun. Looking forward to it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dungeons Revisited

Tell me if you have heard this one before? A party of adventurers goes into a dungeon/ruin/temple/tower/mine/cave and kill everything and tale all the treasure. So you have heard that one.

Now there is an empty dungeon/ruin/temple/mine/cave and I am assuming that since most of us are not in a Michael Bay film where everything gets blown up at the end, these adventuring spots remain intact. If you hated your old neighbors the new ones may be worse.

1 - The dungeon remains empty. Normal animals will not because of the stench of death inside.

2 - Small wildlife starts using the ground level as shelter.

3 - A large wildlife creature makes a home. There is a 25% it is accompanied by a mate.

4 - The adventurers missed a few of the lesser denizens. Having no one to protect them they leave, but not before setting traps everywhere.

5 - An old boss returns after the party has slaughtered everyone else. He refortifies the area with better doors, locks and more guards.

6 - The primordial thing that the critters were keeping happy has now awakened and it's hungry.

7 - The place is now haunted with the spirits of those the adventurers slaughtered.

8 - Bandits set up camp. They store their stolen goods here until they can sell them off.

9 - A tribe of critters move in. They redecorate the whole setting. Even expand the old place to make more room for all of them. And there are a lot of them.

10 - A real nasty s.o.b. decides this is where he will develop his stronghold and from here he will rule the world.

11 - The lord of the land has given permission for the place to be rebuilt. Hundreds of people flock to the area looking for work.

12 - Due to time and condition the place collapses.

So if you have a campaign that you plan to run for a while and there are all these places dotting the landscape just because one party clears out everything might not mean it's done. The temple on the mountain can be used again. The GM will just need to figure out who decided who moved in. Monsters tend not to be too picky where they squat.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Official Guard Figure

I would like to introduce you to a little friend of mine, meet Mr. Official Guard Figure. You may be asking yourself, what makes him so damn official. My answer is, a long time ago in a place where gaming was done around a giant bowl of Cheetos, a friend and I decided we were the officials of making things official. Yes, we were in high school.

I think every DM should have a set of official guard figures. I know he doesn't look all that imposing because the poor fellow has lost his spear and has phantom spear syndrome, but when the players are getting rowdy and start tearing apart a perfectly good tavern someone needs to intervene. A group of non-spear wielding official guard figures will strike fear (or laughter) in the hearts of any adventuring group.

Making your guards competent is crucial. A one shot crossbow, called the knight killer, became standard equipment for my walkers of the wall. It brought instant respectability to my guards. Towns and cities know how to handle adventurers that get too big for their britches or they wouldn't still be standing. Guards are well trained and organized. Having a group of official guard figures is visual imposing and when a group of soldiers move as one unit it can be intimidating.

These guys enhance a campaign by representing of the law of the land or the tyranny of an evil lord. They may not have individual names or personalities, but when the players see them it means something. There is a viseral reaction. And there something very satisfying when you start placing them on the board and your players say, "Oh crap, the guards are coming."

*I would like to thank Mr. Rob Conley for the pictures. Well done sir.

This is a repost from April of last year.