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

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.