I Swing the Vorpal Spork of Irony like some Hyperborean Usurper through the Hordes of the Unwashed.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tales of the Old Margreve

”My Ancestors are from Eastern Europe, I can remember my Great-Aunt telling me not to let the cat sleep in my bed because they steal the breathe of children” - Me

     In case you’re not familiar, Open Design uses a patronage system to come up with some truly excellent adventure settings. Not only am I a fan, but I’m a patron as well. When they asked me to review “Tales of the Old Margreve” I was more than happy to oblige.
     Lead by the Design team of Tim and Eileen Connors this literally has everything you need to keep a Pathfinder group busy for six months.
     Eight adventures inspired by Medieval Eastern European folklore are supported by 12 new Pathfinder monsters, new spells and a truly spooky 32,000 sq. mile living forest.
     Quite simply the Open Design Settings are as good as any the Big Dogs put out. Best of all at 113 pages you get all meat with no fluff for half the price. If you’re GM’ing Pathfinder and you’d like to inject some of that old Transylvania creepiness to your campaign this is the book for you.
(click here or on the cover art to learn more)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gleefully Killing Clerics Since 1981

First off I would like to tip my hat to the RPG'ers who voluntarily play healers in adventuring parties.  They rarely get awesome treasure or have bards compose lengthy biopic songs about them.  But, they are extremely important! 
     The newest incarnation of every one's favorite RPG has brought some healer issues to the forefront.  The main one is that "You can't kill a 4th Ed. Party that has a good cleric/healer."  Now this might be a tad overstated, but in a balanced encounter the players will always have a huge upper hand.  Is that so bad? Yes.  It makes combat extremely boring and sometimes painfully so. 
     So how do you change that.  You can tweak the monsters, give them regenerative powers and action points among other things.  But, that has the unwanted effect of extending the combat.  The easiest and most efficient way is to go after the cleric.  You certainly don't HAVE to kill them, but you should definitely make them a focus of the bad guys.  When the healer is more worried about his own ass, he becomes less of a healing machine and more of a real party member.  This makes combat more fun, and makes the time fly by.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Problem Solving with Kirk and Spock

     You don’t have to be a Dungeon Master or Psychologist for very long to realize that no two people solve problems in the same way. As a matter of fact, we count on that very fact for our entertainment. It’s makes Role-playing Games so much damn fun.  For the benefit of my geekly audience I have split problem-solvers into two camps and assigned two iconic protagonists to be their Mascots.
     The first group is the Kirks: Members of the Kirk faction solve their problems with derring-do and panache. Why shouldn’t we split the party when we can do it while looking great and get the hot green girl at the same time. Kirks rarely have a plan, rely on implausible plot improvisations and fantastic MacGuffins.
     The Second group is the Spocks: If you are a Spock you’re probably really good at math. Every problem has a logical solution that can be arrived at with a pencil and a piece of scrap of paper. Everybody has a role and must perform it perfectly for the plan to work.
     The Big Question is which one is better? Neither! In fact, Spock needs Kirk and vice versa. Each of these groups is represented around your gaming table. If you’re really lucky, you’ll have a Montgomery Scott (MacGuffin Builder and Polarity Reverser) and a Leonard McCoy (Wise-ass Cleric type)thrown into the mix. Which type of Role-Player are you?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Adventure Time is Totally D&D!

I, like most American Kids, grew up watching massive amounts of Cartoons.  I like to consider myself kind of a connoisseur of the Art Form.  Recently I've been watching a cool new show about a Paladin-Like young adventurer and his Funky Dog Pal. 
Not since the original Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon and Thundarr has there been a show that blends two of my favorite genres.  D&D and Cartoons.  The best part is that it does it without saying so.  Watch it with your kids on Cartoon Network, it's Damn Funny.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Take the D&D Iconic Monster Quiz

Take the Old School Monter Quiz and test your AD&D street Cred.  Post Your Results if you Dare! Click the Link Below. D&D Iconic Monster Quiz

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kobold Quarterly Winter Issue

     In the bookcase containing all of my RPG stuff is a big pile of Magazines.  When I'm looking to jiggle a few ideas loose from the giant pile of toothpicks that is my brain, I start going through the pile.  On top, is my growing collection of  Kobold Quarterly's.      
    The latest issue is simply chocked full of Pathfinder and D&D Goodies.
     For Pathfinder there are articles about Druids, Pit Traps and a rocking Giant Ant Ecology. 
     For D&D 4th Ed. there's a fresh look at mounted combat, a superior article on mechanical traps, and a cool compilation of skill stances (essentials anyone). 
Added to this is their always great artwork, insightful commentary, and short player specific content.
Whatever the "Switzerland of the Edition Wars"  is doing over there, continue to encourage them by buying their Magazine.  I fully expect to be reading Them for the next 20 years also.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

From 101 Hit Point to 8, Will I Survive?

We're getting ready to start a brand new 3.5 campaign on Thursday night.  We're leaving behind some kick-ass 4th Ed. characters with some awesome magic items.

My guy was Grognard Deepmug who wielded the "Axe of the Dwarvish Lords" and had 101 hitpoints.  I'll be playing a Dwarf Caver (ranger) named Ergywyld Truesilver.  Not only is this my first ranger, it's also my first foray with 3.5.  I'm totally psyched! 

I'm not abandoning 4th, but our DM thought that this would be cool.  I like what I've seen so far.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mosquitofolk : Aching for Blood by Zombie Sky Press

When I first downloaded this PDF I was slightly bemused. 
Three pages in I was nodding my head and grinning.  By the time I reached the end I was scheming about how I could drop my group into this buzzing buzz-saw.
This new product from Zombie Sky Press (love that name) is more than just a monster ecology, it also has some pretty kick-ass encounters and excellent M-folk lair map.  The nastiest of the M-folk was the Woundmage, seriously.  That even sounds nasty. 
I think I'm going to drop the Lair into my Pathfinder "Isle of Dread" redux.
Click over to their site to get more info.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dark Deeds In Freeport : Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

     If you're like me, you think that you're adventures are better than anything the big dogs publish.  Do yourself a favor and invest a little scratch in a patronage project, I did (Open Designs' Lost City).  Not only do you get to contribute to a published adventure, you get to experience how the whole process works. 
     Open Design's latest project is an adventure for Green Ronin's Campaign Setting the Freeport : the City of Adventure.  The goal here is to combine a Swashbuckling adventure with supernatural horror.  Sounds like fun!!!
     If you'd like give this try click on over to Kobold Quarterly and check out the section on how patronage works.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Advanced Feats: The Witch's Brew

I just got a chance to read the newest Pathfinder supplement from the hardworking Kobolds at Open Design.  Like the last one (the Alchemist), it has 3 builds and 30 feats.  It also gives the player a different prospective on the class from what is presented in the Handbook.  I particularly liked the Wicked Witch build with the Evil Eye hex and Craft Magic Tattoo feats.  If you are playing a Witch from the Advanced Players Guide you should get this supplement.  But as with the last Advanced Feat supplement you should discuss any feats you take with your game master. 
Click on the Pic to shop.
I received a free copy of this product for review purposes.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My First Podcast Attempt

I enjoy listening to Podcasts about Roleplaying games. Before I tried it I thought it would be difficult and time consuming. Turns out, once you decide to do it, it's not that hard to pull off. On the right hand side of this page is a small media player with the last 25 minutes of our first Keep on the Borderlands actual play session. If you are extremely bored, listen to it. I think we have pretty interesting group, and we always have fun. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

D&D Shirts On Sale!

The remaining D&D Collection Shirts are now on sale at Jinx for $10.  The also have some nicer clothes with a geek flair in case your imaginary girlfriend wants you to take her out to dinner.  Click on the logo and look under the "Shopping" button for Sales.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hey Pathfinder Guy's (playtest alert)

There are those of us who've always played fighters and have always secretly wondered what it was like to play a Caster.  Now thanks to Paizo's Ultimate Magic Playtest we have chance to do both.  Click the pic, download the free Magus Class PDF!  Roll it, play it, and drop by their forums and let them know what you think.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Advanced Feats: Secrets of the Alchemist

Advanced Feats: Secrets of the Alchemist by Sigfried Trent is the latest Player Buff-O-Rama product from the fine folks at Open Design.  While I have never played an alchemist in a game, I did run through the character creation process to get a better idea of what it would be like.  In a word it was Intriguing.  I especially liked the Carpet Bomber build.  This would certainly be the PC you'd want to go first and soften up the Big Bad and his Boys for you. 

click pic to buy
Here's what you get:
30 Alchemist Feats, with some that other classes could use as well.
3 example builds- Carpet Bomber, Mighty Mutant, and Mad Scientist
Each feat and build was well thought out and thoroughly explained.  I would consult my Game Master before using some of them first though.  If you're playing a high level Alchemist in Pathfinder you definitely need this product.
I recieved a free copy of this product for review purposes

Friday, September 17, 2010

Red Box Week 1

My Initial Thoughts.....
It's D&D.....
Basically it's a stripped down version of the 4th Ed. mechanics, with all the errata thrown in. I like it so far. I still have yet to play (just DM), and we haven't started the Encounters Season yet.
If you see one in the store you should probably buy it. If nothing else, teach your kids or nephews how to play. It's literally as easy as teaching someone to play Monopoly. If you have a printer, download the pregen characters off WOTC's site and you're ready to roll.
I will post an update after the Keep on the Borderlands Encounter season starts. But, I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why do I Bother? (Red Box Game Day)

So I camped out the Bookstore today to DM the new D&D Red Box Game Day.  I had a blast, thanks for asking (pics coming soon).  As usual, there were several folks who stopped by just to tell me that they would never play this Edition.  And, that they predicted that the Evil Wizard's People would release version 4.5 just to mess with us all.  Worst part though is I argued with them.  How dumb is that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Red Box Review

The wait is over, I've got one, opened it, and thoroughly dissected it.
Has it changed my life?  No.  Will it change your life?  No.
Is it cool?  Yes.  It is what it is.  It's a cool way to introduce someone to the Wonders of D&D.  It's a scaled back version (not different) of the 4th Ed. mechanics, without all the junk.  It really reminded me of the Day's of Yore, when Dwarves and Halflings where a class.

What does it do?  It makes being a Sword and Board fun again.  And that, is a good thing.  Basically you've got 4 Classes: Cleric, Fighter, Rogue and Wizard.
(anyone who complains gets detention).
You Get 4 races: Human, Dwarf, Halfling and Elf.
That's it.  Roll Em and Play.  How awesome is that.
This is, In My Opinion, is the best thing that could happen for roleplayers.  Now, there is no excuse!  The fighter has a stance and an axe, the Wiz has Magic Missile, and the Cleric can heal.  Now get your ass in that Dungeon and kill some shit.
I'll be running it this weekend for the Game Day, I'll let you know how it goes.

Waiting for my Red Box

While waiting for the store to open to get my new Red Box I would like to thank Catherine for bestowing my insane web scribblings with the "One Lovely Blog Award".  She and her Husband Doug have anchored my D&D Dark Sun Encounters Table and is an excellent new writer. 
Look for my thoughts on the Red Box later.
Speaking of insane web scribblings, why is it that I get a huge spike in page views when I'm poking Grognards?  While it is massive amounts of fun, I'm trying to help the 'Nards, not hurt them.  As a matter of fact, I recommend that you should kidnap a 'Nard and make him play something new! 

Friday, September 3, 2010

FunGeon Masters Guide

Since most of my Dark Sun Encounters players are noobs, combat can take a little longer than normal.  To keep the other players from getting bored I've been giving them fun tasks to complete.  For example, list 5 names for the Gith Spellcaster,  or list 5 Athas related insults.  The key here is to work them into the role-playing.  It's much more fun to fight something that you've named "Morkoni the Strange" than Gith #1.  I'm also working on some D&D Themed Mad Libs. I'll post those later.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Has 4th Ed. Turned the Corner?

With the imminent release of the new-old Red Box can we now look to the future-past? Will Grognards ascend the basement stairs to rummage through their Mom's purse for the $20 MSRP? Does it matter? To me it does. I was once a Grognard. But, I got tired of NOT having anyone to play with. It's also nice to have something to get excited about. What the hell do the 3.5nards dream about? (other than WOTC burning down) Come to the Darkside, we have cookies.

P.S.- the price of 3.5 books are dropping on Amazon

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The New FunGeons Masters Guide

Having fun is more important than the rules!  If you're playing an RPG and not laughing a lot you're doing it wrong..  Once in while put your books where you have to get up to retrieve them.  Then do the same for that cardboard security blanket between you and your players.  And, if the Guy who's pretending to be a blue demi-giant wants to toss the hobbit-ling on top of the baddie let them do it, no rollsy's.  If the players will drive an hour to sit with a bunch of nerds, refuse to take a break, and have shot Mountain Dew out of their noses, you're doing it right!
Please Please Please, if you have any tips to share that will help those of us who are painfully shy to cut loose post them below.  Nothing is better for me than when one of my players, who wouldn't say shit if they had a mouth-full, jumps up and yells (in the middle of a book store) "I tea-bag the Ogre!"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kobold Quarterly Issue #14: A Review

The first time I wrote a review of an RPG Magazine I actually wrote a blurb about each article.  It took forever.  In the interest of brevity I will try to sum up the entire body of work.  Outstanding!  Peace Out!
OK, OK, a little more you say.  The Gen Con issue is easily the best one yet.  Packed full of stuff for players and DM's alike.  20+ years later I still consult my old Dragon Magazines, and I expect that I'll be doing the same thing with my Kobold Quarterly's.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Buiding a Better Monster (templates needed)

So I'm listening to Wotcs' Monster Builder panel from GenCon.  What's struck me most is that they are advocating doing the same things that I've been doing all along.  What does that mean?  I should be working for Wotc?  Well maybe not.  Perhaps what it means is that Monster Building is easier than you would think it is.  In my recent experience, deciding that I wanted to do it was the hardest part.  Enter Wotc's Digital tools.  Say whatever want, but the tools that they've managed to get up totally kick ass.  In the case of the Monster Builder, it's completely addictive. 
Basically what it allows you to do is edit, tweak, and create absolutely any monster you want.  Let's say you want to totally re-engineer an AD&D monster.  You can choose a random monster to change or edit, or you can find a monster that is similar to what you want to do and then change it's name and tweak that.  In the case of the Morkoth I chose the Aboleth Slime Mage as a Template, and when you are done you can save and print it.
I would be extremely interested to learn how more experienced DM's tweak monsters in 3.5 or older editions.  More to come.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Obligitory Gen Con Post (psst, I didn't go)

OK, I didn't go to GenCon this year,  even though it's not that far. I've been laid off since before the last one, and I didn't want to blow the cash.  But, I did learn a few things.  First of all my friends are awesome.  Each one brought me a little something.  Cool dice and Kobold patches and stuff. Thanks again kids!
Secondly, there are organizations that will pay for your room and badge.  All you have to do is DM while you are there.  Cripes, I've been doing it for nothing.  Sign me up!
Thirdly, if you buy 23 Decks of Many Things at the Green Ronin booth they will give you a hell of a deal.  Wait, What?
Yes, one of my friends bought a 23 Decks of Many Things so that he would have one regular deck and 22 decks with 22 of the same card in it.  Diabolical.  I'm not going to rat him out, but be afraid, very afraid.
Hopefully the Winds of Employment will shift soon.  Next year I hope to be hardly sleeping in my free room, DM'ing my butt off, and not buying 22 extra Decks of Many Things.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dungeon Master's Token Set: the Review

Anyone who's played 4th Ed. Dungeons and Dragons knows that there are a lot of things to keep track of.  Stunned, Slowed, Bloodied, Weakened, and Grabbed to name a few.  I've seen some odd things used to keep track of the combat stuff.  I myself have used multicolored soda bottle rings, hair-ties, rubber bands and labeled Poker Chips. These methods, while quasi-effective, still leave something to be desired in the cool department. Enter the DM's Token Set from Gale Force Nine.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received this as a gift for DM Appreciation Month (my favorite made up holiday).  The MSRP is $30, BTW, and I probably would have paid that had not my players beat me to it.  For that price you get an awesome box with a felt lined lid for dice rolling.  There are 21 condition tokens, 5 bloodied tokens, and 18 status scrolls you can write on with a dry erase.  These "scales" are made to fit against the base of the D&D plastic minis, so if you use something else it may not be as good.  They are a little small for my taste, but I'm old and can't see as well as I used to.  It doesn't come with a marker which I thought was a little odd,  and the tokens are a little hard to pick up with my chubby arthritic fingers. It does have plenty of room for pencils and dice etc.  Overall I would give it a 9 out of 10.  I'm betting that I will have it sitting beside my DM Screen for a long time to come.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

3.5 Late Adopter

If you've read my blog you might know that I took a 15yr. hiatus from gaming.  It just so happened that those 15yrs came at the same time that my favorite game was going through some major changes.  Mr. Gygax was ousted at TSR and the brand was bought by some guys on the West Coast.  They released a 3rd Edition and then 3yrs later they added a .5 to it.  Many of my friends swear by this .5 thing.  Personally I'd never played it,  before now. 
Mrs. Dungeon Master informed us that our Thursday Night 4th Ed. game would be switching to a new 3.5 campaign as soon as (or if) we kill the Lich.  I'm kinda pumped.  Of course it's a great excuse to get another book, and paint some more mini's. But, will I turn into a Grognard and start hating 4th Ed.?  We'll see..... 

Instead of just reading the PHB, I printed a char. sheet and went to town.  Now, just a few days ago I got a copy of Ed Greenwoods classic, "Dwarves Deep".  Did I let that influence my character?  Hell yeah. 
Question, have anyone out there ever played a Dwarven Ranger in 3.5?  I'm having a hard time picking a feat.

I Wish I were a Rakshasa

Miss Kittie napping on the Fiend Folio.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

D&D Encounters Update and the Errata of Life

Good News: We've added a 2nd table to our D&D Encounters Night at the Bookstore.
Bad News: I have DM two encounters in a row.
It could be worse though,  I took a 15yr hiatus from any roleplaying I guess I'm making up for lost time.  The buzz at the bookstore has been awesome.  If we wanted to we could have a 3.5 table and AD&D table as well.  We're keeping that in mind.  Looks like I will be running my own campaign after this season.  I need to come up with something before September.
Just added to my Library:
This is the ultimate guide to the Dwarves of the Faerun.  Even though I'm only running 4th Ed. I plan on using this in my next campaign.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Remember that one time when....

.... my Dwarf., who was wielding the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, rolled (3) 20's in a row and he turned into Moradin and kicked some Giant Ass.

Many human activities have traditional storytelling methodologies. In my own experience three important ones come to mind.
  1. Poker- anyone who has ever played poker has a "Bad Beat" story. It usually involves you having a pair of aces and some Jackass having a 3 and a 5.
  2. the Navy- all sailors love to tell stories, and I have about 10 good ones that I have been telling for years. Over the years these old "chestnuts" have morphed into amazing epics with little in common with what actually happened.
  3. RPG's- You all have them and you've listened to hundreds of them. If they are short, I will listen to (1) or (2) before I start thinking about how I can fake my own death.

If you would like to share an old RPG "chestnut" for digital posterity please leave one in the comments section. If you don't mind please keep it to around a paragraph.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chapter One of the Dark Sun Encounters

Having Fun, wish you were here!
There is some bad news though. I was not overly impressed with the preparation that went into this adventure. The characters were flawed and I was left having to make up stuff because the books aren't out yet.
The good news is nobody died and everyone had fun. We had 5 or 6 new players try 4th Ed. and a few who hadn't played in a long time. More importantly we broke in a new store. We've already begun planning for the Dark Sun Gameday and maybe one for the new Basic Box Set.

I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Based on a first read through is looks they had a little more time to prepare this one.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pay to Play Pen and Paper: Part Two

I would like to thank everyone who commented on my last post. I had over 250 hits, and quite a few comments. It seems that I touched a nerve.
First I would like to clarify a few things. I was referring mainly to D&D 4th Edition. Also, I'm not trying to make money. I DM my campaign at a small Independent Bookstore who I wish very much to keep open. It's becoming more apparent that D&D 4th Edition is not really a "Pen and Paper" game anymore. Applying '80s economics to this game is difficult. Now, I read the posts. I realize that you don't need all that stuff to play. Does it make it more fun, in my opinion, yes.
Here are some things that I've also decided. I won't allow illegally downloaded 4th Ed. PDF's at my table anymore. Also, before a campaign I will take a survey of my players. I'm going to let them decide what we'll do, and what they are willing to invest and we'll run with that. Again thanks for your comments.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pay to Play Pen and Paper: Good Idea or Bad

In general Dungeon Masters and /or Store Owners foot the majority of costs associated with running a D&D Campaign. Now, these costs are borne voluntarily, but they are costs none the less. I sat down and made a list:
  • Miniatures
  • Snacks
  • DDI subscription
  • Terrain and Tiles
  • Books and Modules
  • Tokens and Trackers
  • Utilities (store owner)

When I first started playing D&D, we shared a communal set of books and used graph paper from school. As the times have changed, players expectations have increased as well. What I am wondering is if players would be willing to defray some of the inherent costs of running a good game. If you go to the movies you will pay approx. $8 for two hours. At $4 an hour and most RPG sessions lasting 4 hours times 6 player that would be $96. At that rate you almost start buying Dwarven Forge terrain. Obviously I'm not going to charge my player's $4 an hour. But, charging them $5 a session would not be out of the question.

If I was charging $5 I could justify spending more time on preparation. I could order Minis for the campaign and the Dungeon Tiles I would need. I could also pony up the cash for an Obsidian Portal Membership and D&D Insider. I could print out more cards, handouts and character sheets. I'm guessing that players would be more likely to show up on time and maximize their fun if they had some skin in the game.

I would love to have some feedback from the blogosphere. Please complete the poll to the right if you don't wish to comment.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

DM Reward: Tomb of Freaking Horrors

I was feeling a little blue about not being able to go Origins this week. But when I got home today my good behavior was rewarded in spades.
Let me first say that I love Free Stuff and I love Dungeons and Dragons, so I love Free Dungeons and Dragons stuff most of all. But I never expected a free redux of the greatest module ever!!! I knew that WoTC was releasing a TOH adventure book, but I hadn't heard that they were sending out the module!!! At first blush it looks Eerily similar to the original, with one exception a freaking huge poster map of the whole dungeon! Now it's not to 1in=5ft but it's beautiful. Now I have to find a group to torture. This makes being a DM worth the hassle for sure. Thanks Wizards.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free RPG Day - 2nd Chance

If you're like me and wasn't within driving distance of a FLGS on Saturday you now have another chance to score some of the loot on PDF. If you have a facebook account search for and "Like" Free RPG Day. They have links to some of the booty that we missed out on.
I especially like the 1st Level Pathfinder module, very nice. Hopefully they'll link up to the Dark Sun Arena module. Cheers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Of Encounters and Twitter Buffs

Week 3 of Encounters is upon us. I must say that I'm having alot of fun. I really enjoy DMing for total noobs, and they seem to be having fun. Actually the only complaints I've gotten is about the Twitter Buffs unfairly helping the Melee characters. Of course it may just be the Marshmallows in the back are a little jealous. So far I've not had anyone bring a laptop to the table which I try to dissuade. If you're running or playing Fury of the Wastewalker I would love to hear what you think.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kobolds Guide to Guide to Game Design

Kobolds Guide to Game Design vol. III

Tools and Techniques

“ a madcap festival of halflings, half-besotted and half-stuffed with food while devils scheme around them”

Wolfgang Baur pg. 64

Instead of me heaping praise on the authors of this book (indeed, they are all luminaries in the field) I will offer a suggestion for the potential purchaser. Get out that old notebook you’ve had since 7th Grade

While this book is ultimately intended for the “next level” guys trying to get to published, I think that it will serve your average Game Master very well. If your players get up and wander around or check their facebook page while you are stumbling through the read-aloud text, you might want to purchase this book and the first two entries of the series.

While reading the collected essays (a free review copy) I wrote my self a couple of dozen yellow stickies and scribbled furiously in my notebook. Will this book help me get published? Not sure, but it will help me be a better game master.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monster Manual 3

I understand that many folks think that Wizards is the devil. But, I just finished looking at some of the art from Monster Manual 3 and I'm suitably impressed. It appears that there are some gems from the Original Monster Manual. (see above) Am I going to rush out and get it, probably. Will I use it, hell yes. I also use the monster builder which I import to the DM's battle screen. Hopefully they'll have the new [old] stuff loaded up soon. Bop over and check it out. Game on!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Survival Day Skill Challenge

In the new D&D Encounters module there appears an important term that has created some controversy. That term being "Survival Day". Now the module defines a survival day as "[those] expendable resources [that] account for food, water, proper clothing and other supplies. Each survival day allows a single character to travel in the dangerous wastes of Athas for one day without being subjected to starvation or thirst."
Now we all have to consume to survive. Though we don't usually have to think about it this way. But on Athas, life is gritty and very hard.
In order to get my players to start thinking along these lines I'm going to make obtaining a "Survival Day" a skill challenge by having them list and explain essential survival supplies. The following essentials are based on the US Army Survival Manual.
  1. Water-the average person needs to drink aprox. 1 liter a day.
  2. Food-eating and digestion consume water so drinking should take priority.
  3. Loose clothing-as much skin should be covered as possible.
  4. Fire-cooking food and warmth at night are imperative.
  5. First aid-yes, even if you have a healer this is very important.
  6. Food procurement-ranged weapons and snares are better.
  7. Compass-not sure how to do this one, perhaps the PC's could explain how they navigate through the desert.
  8. Salt-if you're sweating your going to need to replace your minerals.
  9. Skin protection-what would the Dark Sun equiv. of Coppertone or Chapstick be.
  10. Condom-now the manual says that you can use it for storing water. But, I was in the Navy and we used them for something else.

I plan on also having my Party role play how the might obtain these supplies. For example, animals that thrive in the wastelands may have a method for storing water in their bodies. Instead of searching for gold, they would search the vanquished for water. Now in the Encounters framework you can't spend too much time on one thing, but in this case I think its worth it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sweet Ass D&D Shirts Going Fast

If you haven't gotten your official D&D shirts from Jinx.com yet, they are running low. Especially in the gamer sizes, XL, 2XL, and 3XL. They are having a $10 off sale for Fathers Day (enter DADSROCK under promo codes at checkout). Is this a shameless plug? Yes, if you click on the Skull Logo or the Banner at the bottom of the page I will get free swag. Thanks.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dark Sun, 1st Encounter

Last night was the kickoff for the second season of D&D Encounters. (photo's soon) I had the pleasure of DMing for 6 complete newbies. That's right, 6 and it was awesome. Consider this, an entire adventuring party that you can shape and mold. Six players who have no idea what the edition wars are. Everything I do is new to these players. In addition, it happened to be three married couples.
Instead of trying to dump everything on them at once, I hit the RPG basics one at a time and slowly.
First I spent about 45min on Athas and the basic Classes of D&D. Then we role played for about an hour. The combat went better than I expected and only one player got nuked. (Sorcerer got a little to close to the melee action)
Obviously the whole the encounter took twice as long as was planned, but the time flew by. Of course, I won't know if they really enjoyed it until next week and they show back up.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shut Up and Play

Yesterday I was privileged to see one of the rarest sights in the natural world. I saw and interacted with a 3rd Edition Forum Troll. Now this isn't the first time I've seen one of these missing links, but it was the first time that I tried to coax one out of the cave.

Tonight I'll be DMing the Dark Sun Encounters at a local Bookstore. So I actually tried to lure this elusive beast into playing. Now, I don't want to embarrass this person because deep down he and I both love D&D. I asked him what he's playing and where. He told me that he hasn't played in over 18 months and that his former group had drifted apart. He went on to say that he wouldn't play 4th Ed. because Wizards was "raping" D&D. Now, rewind the clock 2 years. I re-discover D&D after 17 yrs. I dusted off the old Tomes and Folios and proudly declared, I will not play this new edition. But, after a couple of months of waiting, I realized that no one would be knocking down my door to play "Keep on the Borderlands" again. I realized that I have to just "Shut Up and Play"! You know what, I'm having a blast!

If you're in the NE Ohio area stop by around six and say hi (rub some crayon on those polyhedrals) http://backlistbooks.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Encounters: Dark Sun

Just picked up my package for season two of Encounters. So far it looks pretty cool. Having not played the original I'm not sure what to expect. My biggest concern is that the books, minis, and tiles aren't due out until Aug. I already have questions about the geography and geology of Athas and I'm not even half-way through the module. I'm guessing I should just revert to the original for any questions.
It appears that they are using the same places and races in this incarnation. Also troubling is the fact that there is no big map of the Tyr region. Now, in the forums it's been said that the '91 maps were consulted. How much, I'm not sure. If anyone has heard anything different please let me know. Here's to 15 weeks of fun.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Not So Scary Monster Saturday: Gorbel

OK, you busted me. I did just buy a Fiend Folio last week. It's been at least 20 years since I've owned one. Now the scariest part of this guy is that he kinda resembles one of those red playground balls. You know, the kind that the big kids hurled at the skinny little nerdlings during DodgeBall.
-"the Gorbel appears as a red globe of thin rubbery material about 3' in diameter"
Andrew Key, Fiend Folio 1981
It looks like it is scaring the hell out of the guy in the fez.
From the previews I see that there will be some of these forgotten gems in the upcoming Monster Manual 3. Score!!!
It looks like WOTC is becoming more comfortable with thier customer base.....Old Farts.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ride the Giant Down

While printing out my character sheet for last nights 4th Ed. game I noticed something odd. There was an unsolicited power added to old Grognard Deepmugs' repertoire. Apparently when you choose a paragon path (Giantslayer in this case) the character builder just adds stuff. In this case it's called.....

Ride the Giant Down

You scramble onto the creature’s back, distracting it and gaining a better position to bring it down.

Daily: Martial
Move Action Melee 1

Target: One Large or larger creature

Effect: You move into the target’s space, provoking opportunity attacks as normal. Until you leave the target’s space, the target grants combat advantage to you and your allies and takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls, and you grant combat advantage to other enemies. Any attack that damages you also deals half the attack’s damage to the target. When the target moves, you move with it, staying in the same portion of the target’s space.
If the target hits you with a melee attack, it can slide you 1 square to a square adjacent to its space unless you succeed on a saving throw.

Special: If you’re trained in Athletics, you don’t grant combat advantage to other enemies because of being in the target’s space, and you can make a saving throw to negate any pull, push, or slide that would move you out of the target’s space.

....Now I've been trying to do this for years. Some DM's let you do stuff like this with an extremely difficult series of rolls, most just shake their head and chuckle. You see, I always play Dwarves, and any self-respecting son of Moradin knows that the best place from which to smite a large foe is from the top down. Thank you WOTC.

I just wish this was an At-Will.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sunken Empires - a review

One of the coolest things about being an RPG’er is the ability to take a quirky idea and build a world around it. Before I received my review copy of Open Designs “Sunken Empires” I thought it might be just that. Or at worst it was some cool gear to change my sword and board fighter into Aquaman. I was way off.

If you’d like to drop your campaign into Atlantis or Mu you should get this book.

You get new Pathfinder monsters like the Coral Drake and the Goblin Shark. New spells like Barnacle Armor and Sea Legs (which would have come in handy when I was in the Navy). Sweet watery weapons like the sawfish sword and the Orca Suit Armor crafted by merfolk. Add some excellent maps and you’ve got an extremely useful campaign tool. And yes, there are Aboleths!

This book not only lends itself to high fantasy but to a Jules Verne kind of pulp vibe. It’s easily as good if not better than anything the Big RPG Dogs produce.

Click on the title to go to the Website.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

W.T.F. L.F.R.?

I played in a Living Forgotten Realms event at a small convention today. Let's just say that I was not impressed.
Why we bothered to name our characters I will never know. We did 2 skill challenges which were adequate at best. We had 3 encounters which were disappointing to say the least. I spent hours smoothing and worrying over my character, what a waste of time. I had a total of 11 turns in 3 encounters. Basically we were on a small boat assaulting a larger ship. Before I could climb out of the boat the fight was over. The PC's, whose names I never did learn (I think one of them was Old Pete) were so geeked up, that each fight only lasted 2 to 3 rounds. I actually felt like I was playing a different game. Now, the players and DM themselves were extremely nice, and there were some funny moments. But over all I was extremely disappointed. It was not fun at all. I wish they would have just handed out the loot and XP and dispensed with the fake D&D.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Character Builder+Me=Gibbering Idiot

It's recently come to my attention that I am a gibbering idiot. No seriously. I'm playing in a good friends 3.5 clone campaign, and I have lost the ability to fill out and update a character sheet.
It's kind of sad really. I used to love doing it. Now I just stare at the book like a neanderthal with an iPad.
The problem is that I depend way to much on WOTC's Character Builder. If you haven't seen this bundle of digital crack let me explain. The character builder is part of WOTC's DM Tools. It allows you to create, store and print an infinite amount of player characters. It does every single bit of math. You can, in mere minutes, run through dozens of combinations of skill, powers, and weapons. Choose the best combo then print it out complete with customized power cards. It literally has everything. All the books, errata, and magazine articles updated monthly for you to choose from. I love it.
Beware, you will become addicted. They even let you preview the first 3 level for free. But if you play more than 4th Edition it will spoil you forever.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why We Play

I've had a rough couple of weeks. It happens. But, the other night I was able to leave that all behind. For a few hours I became someone else. I fought his fights and loved his loves. With the help of an awesome Dungeon Master, I was transported to a land of magic and monsters. I picked up his axe and charged the giants. Soon, two hours had turned to five and it was over. For that time I had forgotten about being laid off and about the car payments. I was totally engrossed and loving it. I got something way better than 3200 XP, I got to escape, and to relax. The best kind of therapy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Forward to the Past or Back to the Future

I was busy rescuing the captured maiden when the dragon showed up. Fifty feet of scaled terror glared down at us with smoldering red eyes. Tendrils of smoke drifted out from between fangs larger than daggers. The dragon blocked the only exit from the cave.

Tom Moldvay from the Forward of the 1980 Basic Set

Recent events have forced me to a crossroads in my gaming life that I was hoping to avoid.
On one hand we have 4th Edition and Pathfinder. So shiny, and so good. Currently I'm playing in two 4th Ed. campaigns. They are immensely fun, and entertaining. (I think 4th Ed. is much more fun to play than to DM) I'm currently reading the Pathfinder book, and from what my friends say, it's lots of fun to play.
On the other hand I'm sitting here staring at the Moldvay basic set with the Erol Otus cover. Oh you know the one don't you, beckoning to me like that Farrah Fawcett swimsuit poster (RIP). I really really really want to start a Sunday game starting with the Basic set then Expert then 1st Edition AD&D.
Obviously I can't play and do both and still stay married. What the hell should I do?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bobbing for Orcs!!!

A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of the Giants. Our weary party stumbled over the last ridge into a vale with a frozen pond. A party of Orcs had chipped a hole in the ice and were filling their water skins. As we watched, a blue tentacle reached out from the hole and was grasping for a quick snack.....
What were we to do? What would you do?

Let me know what your party would do.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Worst Cleric EVER!!!

It's been suggested that Tamclarn the Shorn, my Tuesday nights' Everquest character, is the worst cleric EVER. That seems a little harsh don't you think?
OK it's possible that I might have refused to heal a party member. But, said character shouldn't assume that magic items belong to him. Also said character is a marshmallow-ish magic user with an un-naturally large forehead and shouldn't be anywhere near combat. Just saying. Also I haven't really read that pesky rule book.
Truth be told, I'm more of Tank guy anyway. Tanks don't need to read the rules. We just stand in the middle and kick ass and look sexy. And why would the rules (which I should probably read) say I can have a Brutal Warhammer if I'm not supposed to use it.
And, if the Barbarian fails into a pit then runs into a room full of coins, and basilisks, is it my fault? Should I risk my ass to heal him? Apparently I should.
OK, I'll read the rules! And if someone needs healed I'll heal them, even if they are stupid. Just let me kick some ass once in while.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My First MMORPG Experience!

(panting) For the last two hours I've been running around a Dungeon. OK, the first hour I was trying to figure out how not to chop up NPC's. But, I might have actually been having fun. I was playing an MMORPG, which I swore I would never do. Of course I said that I would never play 4th Edition also.
The worst part was waiting for the damn thing to download. Now I'm not sure how much time I will spend playing xxxx MMORPG but it wasn't as bad as I thought. (this one is free and based on a popular pen and paper) I will definitely try it again.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Finally! New D&D Shirts!

When was the last time you bought a new D&D shirt? C'mon, admit it, it was GenCon '84 wasn't it? Now you've got no excuse, you have a place of your own, maybe even a real girlfriend. Get over to Jinx (enclosed link helps yours truly) and check them out. I really like the Rust Monster one.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Scary Monster Saturday Update: The Morkoth

Recently heard on my blog: "So you got killed by something that looks like a transvestite octopus"
That, was very funny. But, thanks to a re-imagining by Eli Arndt I think that we can now say that the Morkoth is now someone you wouldn't like to meet in a dark cavern.
artwork by Eli Arndt

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monster Chronicles: The Nightmare

Deep in the verdant grasses of the midnight plain we awaited the attack. Mighty and fell beasts circled silently and swiftly our position. Although there was no moonlight we could clearly see the monsters fiery eyes and flaming manes. "I don't suppose anyone has a carrot or a sugar cube? quipped our Bard. As if on cue they turned inward to meet our hastily prepared defense....

Recently I was asked to review the Open Design Monster Chronicles: The Nightmare.
According to the Kobold Quarterly website the Monster Chronicles is a project designed to flesh out little known monsters and some forgotten gems. A worthy endeavour indeed. Unfortunately I think they chose the wrong monster to kick off the series. The Nightmare, while certainly not a beast to trifle with, is not likely to inspire fear in the hearts of an experienced party. As with all Open Design products the writing and art is top notch. I'm looking forward to what they come up with next, especially if they can lasso writers like Ed Greenwood and Rob McCreary. On the whole, I would have been disappointed if I would have spent $2.95 for this 8 page PDF. (I received a copy for free for review) Add a map or two and some stats for different levels, and perhaps a sample encounter. Otherwise I think that a buck might be more in line.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scary Monster Saturday

If necessity is the Mother of invention then spite is the Mother of the Tooth Golem.

This is what happened. After a 4th ed. encounter my players were looting orcs or hobgoblins or something. For some reason while I was trying to add some local color I let slip that the baddies had a few teeth in thier pouches. I'm not sure why, doesn't matter. A few of the players pocketed the teeth or attempted to glean to what creatures the teeth belonged. While others, with blatant disregard for the Gods of Roleplaying, threw the teeth away. That kind of made me mad. I'm not sure why, doesn't matter. So from then on, just about every baddie they faced had some teeth in their pouch. It became a game within a game. I give teeth, certain players keep them and certain players throw them away. At first, I didn't know how I was going to exact my revenge. But over the months a devious plan fomented in my puny DM brain. I tweaked the stats for a chain golem [hat tip Wotcs' Monster Builder] and made it so that if you threw teeth into one of it's many maws it would leave you alone but if you had no teeth you were doomed. I did pull up short of a partial party kill, but I hope I made my point.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dark Tower or Dork Tower

OK, this game was so cool when I was a kid. Flashing lights, rotating innards and that annoying music. But now, it's been relegated to scrap pile of history with the hula hoop and Lincoln Logs. If you're feeling nostalgic like I was, play it for an hour or two. Or at least until your teenagers start making fun of you.
Here is a link to a Dark Tower flash game that plays like the real thing. Or at least the way I remembered anyway. BTW, the movie Kick-Ass Kicked Ass.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Scary Monster Saturday

Some time around 1980 a Barbarian named Aagar climbed into an 150ft long Chambered Nautilus and met his untimely death.
Ever since that day his bane has been one of my favorite Monster's to hate. It's Called the Morkoth or the Morlock. If that wasn't enough he was refered to as the "Wraith of the Deep".
Alas, it's been roundly ignored by mainstream nerdia since then. No D&D miniature and no 4th ed. Monster Manual.
I think that this a glaring oversite, 'cause this guy is nasty!
Basically the Morkoth lures you into his lair, hyponotizes you, then starts munching on your extremities while you are still alive. Not a good way to go. If anyone has ever seen a Pewter of this guy you have to let me know. 'Til then I will be lobbying Wotc for this guys' inclusion in MM3.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kobold Quarterly Spring Issue III

Recently I was asked to review the Spring Issue of Kobold Quarterly. The following is the last part of that review.

  • Hmmm, an article about sex and romance in RPG’s... The article is well written and deals with the subject in an adult manner. Which is more than I can say about most Role Players. Only recently have I played RPG’s with Ladies. So I never really had to worry about. Recently I've had a character that’s been romantically involved, it does factor in the story, but shouldn’t distract from having a good time killin’ shit.
  • Next is an article about "Destined" magic items. At first I thought I would never use this. I changed my mind. Basically, you get a Magic Weapon when you’re at lower level, and it evolves and grows with your character. Most of the time you throw away that +2 halberd when you find that +4 vorpal pictchfork. Interesting article.
  • The next two articles are about Dragon Age, a RPG based on a cool looking video game. I’ll be honest with you, my kids won’t let me near the PlayStation. Maybe one of these days I’ll try it, and I will let you know.
  • Last is a nifty underwater adventure seed. I like the idea and the map. I might use this to kick off my Sword and Sorcery/Cthulhu Mythos TPK. Oops, I meant adventure.

I really enjoyed reading each of these articles. A word of advice, read stuff about games you don’t play you might just learn something.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kobold Quarterly Spring Issue II

Recently I was asked to review the Spring Issue of Kobold Quarterly. This is Part Two of that review.

  • The "Thrill of the Unknown" is a very good article by Monte Cook about fear and how to keep your players in suspense and on the edge of their seats. I love the smell of fear around my table. That’s how I knlow you’re doing it right.
  • Next is the King of the Monsters Contest Winner called “Spark”. As an electrician, it certainly got my attention. Basically it’s elemental that jumps into you, and makes you do bad stuff. The Math is Pathfinder, but could work for 3.5. I probably wouldn't make this guy my boss fight though.
  • The next one is a PC Bloodline called the “Scions of Shadow” to me this was the most interesting article. Basically your progenitors make nice with the Shadows and the whole family pays the price. Like it! This is mostly for magic users, or as I call them, 'Marshmallows'. I would like to see a Shadow Hammer for my Fighter.
  • The last article for this part is called Gamblers Magic: Wonderous Items of Chance. It details 4th ed. Magical items of a gambling natue. I like the Demon Dice. I won’t spoil it, but they are nasty.

Just a pet peeve here, but when you go to the trouble of introducing new magic items, give us a card we can cut out and give to our players. As a DM my time and patience are limited (this goes for you too Wotc). And, as a player, it would make things much better if we got a card instead of transcribing and looking stuff up.

Kobold Quaterly Spring Issue

Recently I was asked to review the Spring Issue of Kobold Quarterly. It’s nearly 70 pages long and has 14 articles, not to mention the editorials, regular features and letters to the editor and such. I will endeavour to give each author their due and in the interest of brevity, which I’m told is the “Soul of Wit” I will break my review into three parts.
  • Cover and Interior art are above average. If I was scanning magazines in a store I might pass this one by. It’s very green and has dancing faeries and such. But you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I also would have liked to have seen some more art in Shoggoth article.
  • Ecology of the Shoggoth: I’m a big Cthulhu fan, and I’ve been itching to mix the Mythos into my sword and sworcery stuff. While the article is listed under the Pathfinder category, a minimum of tweeking it would fit into any system. Like it.
  • Lovecraftian Gods: Same as above, well written and fun. Who doesn’t want to stick a Cult of Nyarlathotep under a tavern in the Realms.
  • The Arquebusier: this is a gun toting base class for Pathfinder. Honestly I was a little confused by the title. But it was well written, and the math makes sense. I can see myself playing a Dwarf pirate with a Blunderbuss at some point.
  • Alternate Objective: capture the flag. This one made me think. Not every encounter needs to be a “Bug Hunt”. The problem is getting your players to believe it. This idea would work well with two opposing adventuring parties.

To be continued.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Clash of the Titans is Totally D&D!

Just got back from watching Clash of the Titans (3D). Wow. First of all, it was my first 3D movie, loved it, wasn't too in-your-face either. The movie itself was very good. It was similar to the first, but different in a good way. I won't spoil it for you.
Now when I say it was totally D&D what I should say is D&D is totally Greek mythology or Beowulf or Dante's Inferno. Protagonist vs their environment vs Monsters. Let's not forget beautiful maidens and vengeful and petty gods. The only thing that would make it better would be Dwarves. Come to think of it, aren't they getting ready to start filming the Hobbit......

FLGS Closing

I suppose it's just a sad sign of the economic times, but the local gaming store is closing this month. Since my return to gaming 18 months ago it has been my hangout and refuge. The people I've met have there have become my good friends, and I've played games that I never would have been exposed to otherwise. Inside it geekly confines I have re-found my Dungeon Master MoJo and have been inspired to write this blog and an adventure setting. I have experienced many hours of 4th edition fun and frustration, and have eaten way too much Pizza. And after thirty years I've even learned to love painting Mini's. Mark and Jen, and even Robin...Thank You and Good Luck.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Halfling Insult Bard

....needs your help. I went ahead and did it folks. I'm actually playing a character that isn't a Dwarf, and I'm loving it.
It was a running joke at the "Store" that I only play Dwarf fighters with green skin. Which was true (I'll tackle the green thing later). So for the D&D Encounters I decided to do something different. A Halfling Bard with a Tuba was my first choice. Upon reflection I thought a Halfling Comic Bard might be cool, of course my favorite comic is Don Rickles. So the Halfling Insult Bard was born, his name: Rickles, of course.
Here is where the Help is required. I need material. I've found that Yo' momma jokes are lost on most monsters who don't know who there mothers are. Also, I stopped making up dirty limericks almost 30yrs ago, so I'm a little rusty. Any submissions with a D&D flavor would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

D&D Encounters

Many play in adventuring groups with the same folks for many years. They look at new players like they mailman who is screwing their old lady. Me, not so much. I'm always looking for new and interesting players. Know anyone? Anyway, last night we completed the first of WOTC's weekly Encounters, at the local gaming store. Here are my first impressions.

For the Store: Awesome swag. WOTC must have hit the lottery. The package included drink coasters, condition cards, signs and window clings, player rewards cards, and even a small digital camera.

The adventure: Meh, we'll see. It's to early to tell, but it's OK so far.

The most important thing is bringing people together to play a Roleplaying Game. And by that I mean new players. I'm impressed.

One suggestion: TV commercials. Local Gaming Stores are just barely making it, how about some targeted advertising.

Overall: Big Win, keep up the good work.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Hammerfast" is a Big Bag of Cool

  • Just by happenstance I was in the FLGS when the UPS guy showed up. He had all kinds of dice and Mini's and goodies and such. In the stack was the RPG supplement "Hammerfast". O.K., I knew it was coming. But I wasn't prepared for the coolness.As everyone knows I'm a Dwarf-a-holic, so I had high expectations. In brief here are my thought at first blush.
  • I think it was an excellent idea.
  • The art is excellent, and I like the whole Old School vibe.
  • The big pull-out map is very nice. One side is the whole town (scaled to fit) the reverse is the town's most interesting Tavern. I'm definitely going to get it laminated.
  • Each feature, NPC and building has a little fluff but not too much.
  • It does have some adventure hooks in the back, saving those for later.
  • It's vague enough to be dropped into any setting.
  • The inside cover map of the area is a nice touch (love the hexes).

Long story short, if you like Dwarves, buy it. If you need a base of operations for your party, buy it. If want someplace that ready to go when your party needs a rest and refuel, buy it. I plan on keeping this within arms reach whenever I'm playing D&D.

I give it a 5 out 5.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do I Need to Write My Own Setting?

Just asking. But I'd like some feedback on this. I have an outline, rough sketch and an inspiration. Would my time be better served elsewhere though. Like painting that huge pile of Mini's on my table. I also am trying to run 4th edition while reading Pathfinder and Everquest. And I need to finish cleaning the basement.
I was thinking along the lines of a Hyperborian/Lovecraft kind of place. I suppose that I just want someplace that I can plug into any RPG system. (maybe because I'm trying to learn 3 systems at once) Unless someone can talk me out of it, I'm gonna do it. I'm going to put it on Obsidian Portal, which is one of my Favs BTW. I'll put up a link if it doesn't suck.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My 4th Ed. Character won't DIE!!

Not that I want him to die mind you. A little more Drama would be cool. I'm starting to see what the Haters are talking about.
Tonight the PC's were randomly transporting around floating elemental moats fighting whatever the DM put on them. First up for me was a solo with an Immolith. I should have saved my dailys', cause up next was an adult Black Dragon. To be fair, had not my party members showed up (see Cleric*) I would have been in big trouble. Then, after a short rest, the Aspect of Lolth. Luckily for us she had a previous engagement and left early. All this is a lot to chew for an 11th level Dwarf Warlord.
Having said that, I've been playing this guy for almost a year now. He has taken on a near legendary status. He's got 11 ex-wives and 17 children to feed. And, he possesses the "Axe of the Dwarvish Lords" Come to think of it, I am very attached to Grognard Deepmug. I'm hoping that I can take him all the way to Level 30.
I guess what I'm saying is that when a campaign is well run, it's like a book. And, no one likes it when their favorite character dies before the book is done.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Advertising RPG's

How do we get new players into RPG's? Is it even our responsibility? While it's unrealistic to expect WOTC or Chaosium to buy a Super Bowl commercial, there are some things we can and should do.
First of all, represent your hobby well. Be polite to Magic, Pokeman and even WoW players. Who knows, they may be persuaded to come to the Dark Side.
Volunteer. DM some games at the library or gaming store.
Next, start them early. I have two nephews who I've already got playing D&D miniatures. One is 7 and the other is 13 and ready for RPG's. I'm going to DM a game for he and some of his buddies on his Birthday,(here's a secret, it's alot of fun doing this too).
Just recently I sent out a Facebook message to friends who I thought might be interested about the upcoming D&D game day. Included in this message was a link to the "actual play" videos that Wotc is doing with the guys from Robot Chicken.
I would love hear any suggestions from the blogosphere. Remember, each gamer that leaves the hobby needs to be replaced and we could actually grow it. Any growth should be initiated by players and not the big companies.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What is Best in Life?

Now, crushing your enemies is cool. And, hearing the Lamentation of their Women never gets old. But, what is best in life? Seeing your dreams come true is what's best in life. What does that mean to us gamers? Why everything really.
You control your dream as a dungeon master. And you should dream big. Fill a continent or a world or a galaxy. You control the environment and the players perceptions of it. You are the creator and the fates control who lives and who dies.
Dream that dream and find 5 or 6 people to share it with you. Do it now!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Your Hobby Needs You!

I think we owe it to ourselves to get as many new people to play RPG's as we can. One of the best ways that I've seen is the WOTC Game Days. The next one is March 20th to promote the Players Handbook 3. I don't always agree with everything that WOTC does, and I don't plan to buy the PHB3, but I think that these are genius. For those of you not familiar, WOTC sends a box of fig's, pre-gen characters, and maps to your local store. On the designated day anyone who shows up should be able to play 4th Ed. Now, here's the rub. The folks who own the store need Dungeon Masters.

Personally I have a blast doing these. The first one I did was out of my comfort zone, but now I find myself really looking forward to doing these events. I would like to see Hasbro pony up some cash to really promote these Game Days. One of better moments was when a dad who had played in the 80's brought his son in to play for the first time. The way his face lit up when he found out that his character was a Dwarf like that movie and he likes to fight giants.

Do yourself and the Hobby a favor and run a game on the 20th, you might find your next gaming group.