Sunday, December 26, 2010

Play Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Eberron™ Unlimited Now!

I haven't tried this as of yet. I wish I had endless free time to devout to online gaming --among other things-- and this would be my first stop every day. But who else has played this one and could tell me what it's like? Anyone have an opinion? Please comment below.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Castle Image

Does this castle photograph give you any inspiration? I want to see a more detailed map that I can make into an adventure that will feature all sorts of Scottish ghosts and mythical creatures.

o3rEs.jpg (1280x960)

What would you do with this one?

Introduction: Solving a Kidnapping?

I mentioned in a previous post that I would be running a game for my daughters and our friend Zoë. We have had one session and I'm looking forward to a second one, possibly this upcoming weekend. I wanted to write a little about the characters that we created together and what the first half of their first adventure was like.

I can post the details of all three characters later, but let me just list the basics.

  • Reese :: female halfling / 1st-level fighter
  • Olivia :: female elf / 1st-level wizard
  • Zoë :: female elf / 1st-level wizard

Since O & Z were playing the same race and class, we discussed the possibility that they could be sisters and the two loved that idea. I insisted on starting the game with all three characters knowing each other and assuming a bond of friendship. I didn't want to role-play the introductions or some sort of contrivance to get them started.

When I was brainstorming adventure ideas and reading over the chart in the DMG about urban encounters, I rolled up a kidnapping event involving a parent seeking help from the PCs for their missing child. I started rolling up stats for a minor NPC father and built a story around this guy who would hire them to find his son.

His name is Jata and he is a 1st-level commoner. His profession is scrivener and he owns a small shop with a few employees. His 9-year-old son, Nik, is missing. Jata claimed at first that he was kidnapped, which turns out to be a lie.

The truth is that Nik ran away from home because Jata is not the nicest guy. When business is not going well, Jata loses his temper and is abusive. Nik left his father a note. A number of clues in Nik's room and elsewhere in their home make this clear.

After the team investigated at Jata's house, they asked questions of his two mousy employees and also go visit the local monastery where they are currently investigating the kidnapping.

In Zethul, I have themed the Monk character class a little. Monasteries and monastic teachings are commonly accepted in the city, but there is a unique arrangement between these organizations and the royal family. To offset the difficulty of keeping the peace within the city walls and preventing crime, all teaching monasteries are required to be registered with the King. As part of renewing and keeping their registration every year, a certain number of young monk men and women are required to serve as citizen constables. They are fully deputized by the city guards and must patrol the streets, prevent or stop crime, and maintain order. These monasteries have each become their own little police station.

This frees up the city's regular militia and soldiery to patrol and expand the borders around the city and it's environs. As a win-win solution, it keeps the monks busy and provides a much-needed service to the community.

The monk most directly in charge of the investigation admits he has almost no leads and is low on the man-power to properly question every lead. But he does give the PCs a copy of a list of all of Jata's associates and clients. Through this list and further interviews with his employees, it's suddenly clear that one of Jata's aristocratic clients was always friendly towards Nik. Perhaps she has seen him recently?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Troll Lord Games

For the home of Castles & Crusades, check out Troll Lord Games and their Facebook page.

Chaotic Evil Explained in a Caption

I saw this on Reddit and thought it worth sharing.

W8wDS.jpg

Chaotic Evil

None of the infinite universes suit your tastes. Destroy them all.

To put it another way...

Chaotic Evil, "Destroyer"

A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.

Chaotic evil is sometimes called "demonic" because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil.

Chaotic evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adventures for 1st-Level Characters and New Young Players

Role-Playing for First Time Gamers

I'm proud to mention here that I'm soon to begin running a game for my two daughters Reese and Olivia and one other girl named Zoë, the daughter of a close family friend. This will likely be the first actual game for all three of them and just for them. For accuracy, my daughters have each had at least one turn in a gaming session or two with my sibling in-laws. During those sessions, I would play really loose with the rules (for them). I don't think we ever actually completed their characters except for the basics. In all honesty, my goal was to game with the adults, but I appeased the kids enough to let them play along. We had fun, but they weren't the focus and the game went over their head just a bit.

But now, I've decided that they are both old enough (aged 8-11) to play the game for real. Zoë's parents also agreed, as we all used to game a bit back in college. And now it's going to happen.

The Basics: Rules and Setting

It is a given that we will be playing D&D 3.5 edition. I don't have the 4th edition books (except for the one Dark Sun adventure I got at Free RPG Day) and I don't plan on buying them any time soon. I considered using the Dark Sun campaign setting and using the 3.5 rules from Burnt World of Athas, but a more traditional fantasy setting makes more sense for this crowd. We can "graduate" to Athas or Planescape on some later date.

I'm going to be using a home-brew setting called Zethul that I've been using and musing about for the last few years. I've told the girls they live in a city, but not much else about it. There are not too many back-story details that I will burden them with to start. I'll let them discover them as we go along.

Character Creation

I decided early on to start the characters at 1st level. This seemed like a good idea at first so that the girls could learn the game as their characters grow. But I've run into a bit of a perplexity because I've never really played (or DMed) at this level. Most of the time that I played with Nate, Kate and/or Beth, I had them start at 5th-level and the traditional starting point for the stuff I did for Dark Sun was 3rd-level. My preparation has been researching 1st-level adventures and getting into the mindset of what motivates less-experienced characters and younger players.

Dad, Can I Have a Unicorn --Or Perhaps a Pegasus?!

The first thing that I realized very early in character creation is that I'm going to still need to play things a bit loose as far as the rules go. And I should try not to get too stuck on the verisimilitude aspects. When picking skills and spells for Olivia's newly trained Wizard, she hit a sudden inspiration moment and asked what sort of stuff would she need in order to get a Unicorn. This also evolved into wanting a Pegasus so she could fly around. My initial reaction is to look at her 1st-level Wizard and the magical flying horse, whose stats would make it a challenge for an 8th-level party (of four characters probably) and to explain that this wasn't likely any time soon. However, I want her to be excited about the game and put her imagination into it, so instead I've logged that mentally as a possible future storyline. At the very least, it should be an easy way to motivate her and her character to quest for a magic horse or the money to buy one. This could get interesting and a bit wacky.

Zoë and Olivia also did something unexpected in that they both chose to create an elven wizard. And from there they made their characters related (sisters). They are going to share spell books pretty easily I assume.

Reese surprises me by choosing a simple halfling fighter. She had a sharpshooter concept that she wanted to create, an archery expert, most likely inspired by Legolas from Lord of the Rings.

The Stage Will Soon Be Set

And that's where we have it right now. I told the three of them that their characters are already friends and looking for work. There are a few minor details to finish up and then they'll be setting out. I'll post updates about how it's going whenever I get a chance.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free RPG Day

If I haven't mentioned it already, I participated in FREE RPG DAY and picked up a few items at my local gaming store. I grabbed the new 4th edition D&D adventure for my favorite campaign setting; Dark Sun. And I picked up a Teen Titans collectible card game for the kids. I'd like to post a full review of each product, especially the Dark Sun stuff, but I'll wait until I've had more time to peruse them.

Just in case anyone worries about the small business owner who hosted the event, I did buy one item; a stuffed animal that my daughter wanted. Actually, it was a worm-shaped thing, purported on the tag to be a greatly magnified version of the microscopic fossil found in Martian soil. They had a whole selection of germs, viruses and microorganisms --in cute plush form. Gigantic Microbes! Good for a smirk.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Dungeons & Dragons Podcasts - Dark Sun

With the revival of Dark Sun, Wizards of the Coast has hosted a new game-session podcast with some notable web comic artists and reviewers assembled to experience the revamped game world. For some of these folks, this is their first experience on Athas.

Once more around the table! The folks at Penny Arcade, PvP, and Kris Straub run a new session of Dungeons & Dragons -- this time set in the world of Dark Sun!

Check out the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Podcasts.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dungeons and Dragons Attack Roller-Rube Goldberg

Wait a minute, is all this complication really necessary?

Most gamers will tell you that the simple combat rules are already complicated enough as it is. You throw in an extra 30+ seconds for each attack roll and one combat round will take all night.

Just in case you were wondering, I do know this was all done as a joke.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Biggest Video Game Ever

Shamus Young once again nails a good discussion or rant regarding game worlds, their size and how to build procedurally-based terrain. The main video game featured is FUEL, but since Shamus isn't really a big fan of racing games his closing point is to suggest that someone build a MMO or RPG around this type of automatically generated locations.

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