This town is clear! #Dnd #RPG #StormKingsThunder

Fortune and fate found a disparate group traveling on the High Road. By chance, they shared a common destination, the hunting post named Nightstone. Onward they went. A young Dragonborn, Donaar, the hope of his small village, outfitted with all the equipment a poor town could afford. The sage Squavite, abroad for the first time in search of new knowledge. The hardened Yisaan, an elf raised in mercenary camps with a rough view of the world. And the mysterious Netero, with his blue skin and hair, and quiet ways.

When they reached the town of Nightstone young Donaar and Squavite voiced their concerns that it should be so quiet and the drawbridge down and open to all. Yisaan and Netero, anxious to accomplish what they were here for chose not to acknowledge the others fears and walked into the village.

Only to discover a pair of large Worgs feasting on the scraps of a carcass in the square. The creatures charged. Yisaan ran for high ground, while Netero tried to stand his ground. A vicious bite from a Worg took Netero down. Donaar stepped up and valiantly fought the other to a stand still. While Squavite used his arcane powers to vanquish the last creature.

While Donaar tried to tend to Netero, Yisaan and Squavite began to explore the nearest building, a temple to Mielikki. In their exploration they came upon 2 goblins enjoying their time in the temple, looting all that was of value, and now making a racket with the church bell. Donaar was able to spy another pair of goblins making their way across the square, and shot one down with his crossbow.

Yisaan and Squavite were able to dispatch the 2 goblins in the temple, ending the racket of the church bell. Donaar moved Netero to the safety of the temple while the other goblin ran. And then retrieved the one he had wounded and brought him to the temple as well.

While exploring the temple and searching the goblins Yisaan and Squavite found numerous treasures that the goblins had looted. Yisaan, thinking that it was his by rights, pocketed one of the items. An argument ensued while the party caught their breath in the comparative safety of the temple building. However, the argument was cut short by the smell of smoke.

The goblins had surrounded the building and were hoping to smoke out the party with fire arrows. Yisaan, realizing that the only normal way out was guarded, chose to make his own exit by leaping through one of the church windows. Squavite attempted to follow, reaching the window ledge, only to knocked out when Donaar threw the captive goblin out the same window. Donaar eventually came out the same window.

With the rest of the party out of the Temple, Netero bided his time and waited for an opportunity to rush out and charge the goblins. Donaar provided that chance when he charged into the pack of goblins. Netero rushed from the church and took the goblins from behind. Not in time to prevent Donaar from being knocked to the ground, but before the goblins were able to rush the rest of the party.

With the felling of the last goblin, the party took stock. They had captured four of the horrid little creatures while killing ten others, as well as 2 Worgs. As they bandaged Donaar, a young woman came out of the building that was likely the town Inn. Giving her name of Kella, a recent arrival to the town. She described an attack by Cloud Giants, who took the fabled obsidian megalith that had given the town its name. She also said that she was expecting friends to arrive that day.

Continue reading “This town is clear! #Dnd #RPG #StormKingsThunder”

The games return #DnD#RPG

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I was laid off from my job of 15 years a few weeks ago. The thing that is different about my life at home is that I do not spend all day sitting at a computer, reading and writing. That is why I have not been posting for a few weeks. But I realized that it would be good for me to get back into a regular posting schedule. I will start with talking about the most recent D&D sessions with the boys.

I had some turnover in recent sessions. Two of my regular players have bowed out of the game for different reasons. I have replaced them with 3 new players. All three of the players are younger and far more energetic about playing. Which has really changed the dynamic of the game.

Another factor was the fact that I have not spent as much working on the game. Not being in front of the computer has that effect on the game. To be honest this most recent session I went back to the Donjon site and just grabbed a randomized adventure to run. It was certainly challenging enough for the group, I wore them out. But it is not the kind of quality work I am capable of so I need to work a little more on things than that.

Having these new, younger, players also really changes the dynamic of the actual game play. The new kids are more willing to try and be sneaky and even talk their way out of things. It really forces me to be more on my game and think on my feet. Which I enjoy doing when I pull it off. It is a different kind of challenge. Which will force me to expand and build up my DM skills.

I will go into more specifics about what happened after the next session. But I will bring up a great line from one of the players. So he created a character with the Urchin Background. And he is a Merfolk (playing in the world of Zendikar.) This week he had an epiphany:

‘I guess that makes me a sea urchin’

 

Really back at it #DnD #RPG

I have games this weekend!

That’s right, who has 2 games and 2 role playing games this weekend? This guy, that’s who! I will be running the boys campaign on Saturday and then go to Denver on Sunday for my Pathfinder game. I am pretty excited about this.

I did have to sit down this morning and actually write up the encounters for the boys game. I had figured out the monsters before, broke them up into encounters etc. But had not actually written down the details of the encounters. It was all in my head. I will also have to take a little time to read up on the monsters the boys will be facing so I actually know how they work.

This will be the first session with our new player. I am excited to be back to 4 players. It will be interesting to see how he meshes with the existing group. He is not a stranger, he has grown up with them. But this will be the first time playing D&D and that is a different dynamic. I hope it will work out.

On Sunday I will hopefully be playing the last game with my replacement character. I certainly hope so, because it is getting frustrating to play with this character when I have no plans for moving forward or how to develop it.

In the end, I am really just happy to be returning to a ‘normal’ role playing schedule. If I do it right I will be alternating my Deadlands games with the D&D weekends. Life is good.

 

A nice addition #DnD #RPG

Last Friday night the newest player for my D&D game came over to make his character. I think he will be a very good addition to the game. I think he will be more attentive than some of the other players. And is experienced enough that he will not have to be told every rule. And last, he said something that makes things very intriguing.

He made a Rogue with the Assassin archetype. Which can be a very deadly class choice in the right hands. But then he coupled that with the Charlatan background. And then said that it was his goal to be the type who tried to talk his way out of fights. Which is a definite twist from what I have been dealing with before now. The boys are generally the types to attack first, ask questions later. So to have someone create a character who tries to talk, and then be sneaky about things will be a real change and potential challenge for everyone.

I am even more excited to resume the game no based on this. It will be nice to run games in general anyway. And then to have this nice new addition will change things up for everyone. Not much longer until we play. And there is the chance we might even get another player before we resume.

Getting excited to get back into it #DnD #RPG

I will be honest, this unplanned gaming hiatus has felt terrible. My weekends have felt kind of empty. But last weekend saw some light at the end of the tunnel. I am now more excited about the possibilities for gaming moving forward.

Last weekend I recruited 1 or 2 more players for my game. They are younger than my current players. But they are not strangers, to us or to the game as they were in a game that got disbanded. With one of them coming over tonight to make a character, I will get to really see what kind of player he will be.

I am now putting together a simple introductory session for one or 2 players to get them up to speed in the campaign and with my style of running a game. It is nice to get the creative juices flowing again.

While I admit that the possibility of an online game was attractive I will be putting that on hold for now. We will see how the school year goes before I look at doing that as an alternative.

My hope is that with all of this I will resume my regular posting habits here. We will see.

Nothin’ much, just writing characters #DnD #RPG

Not having any games to play or prep has definitely slowed my posting down. Sorry for that. What have I been up to? Well, I have been reading a lot. Listening to podcasts, watching shows. But not much else until today. Because I am getting at least one new player for the boys game. And since he is coming over tomorrow to create a character I thought I might create a little one shot to help get him started. That means I get to make some characters!

I have no idea what type of player he will be or what kind of character he will want to make. So I figured I would create 3 NPC’s, one of them to accompany him on his one shot. This gives me an excuse to create some characters and write. And it helps stir the creative juices.

First, I created an Elf barbarian. I was inspired a little by a recent Stories of the Fifth Age podcast. They were digging deep in the Barbarian class. And I was reminded of what I think is a great character concept to adapt for that class. In the Wheel of Time series of books, there is a nation called the Aiel. They are a desert dwelling group of tribes. They are somewhat barbaric by the views of the ‘civilized’ nations. And they have a cultural prohibition to never pick up a sword or bladed weapon. I thought that would be a great basis for a character, and eventually a tribe on Zendikar that the players will have to contend with. So I came up with one from there to use as a wilderness guide if he creates a character who would be employing a guide.

Second, I created a human Fighter. A Battlemaster who is a former soldier. He has become too chaotic to remain in the ranks. His job now is to operate as a bodyguard in the wilderness. He is very observant and proficient in trouble spots. He would be very hard to hit and carries multiple weapons. He is not stealthy, but is loyal and will do what he is paid to do.

Third, I have a goblin Wizard. He would be a Transmuter, who spends his time transforming things, creating magic items and trinkets. He is very tough, and smart, but does not look it. He does his best to hide that part of himself. And instead, works to give off the appearance of just another eccentric old goblin. He would be the type to hire a soldier type to escort him in the wilderness.

I think any of these would be fun characters to play. And would be useful recurring NPC’s for the party to deal with depending on what they do. I want to emphasize the wilderness aspect of Zendikar. There are no big cities, so if they run into someone it would be more by chance, and best to let them do their thing.

Spinning ideas in my mind #DnD #RPG

I have an unplanned hiatus in my gaming. My Deadlands game took what is now a 2 session break. The boys D&D game is on indefinite leave. And my Pathfinder is about to resume after the normal 4 weeks but it feels like longer because we had 2 sessions close to each other. That has left my mind free to ponder ideas. That is when I am at my most dangerous.

I pondered the idea of getting James and me into a new table top game. With the new rule set for Warmachine, I looked at that. That is a very well developed world. With its own RPG. I have always liked the miniatures, and from what I have seen it looks like a good game. I even checked out one of the fiction books from the setting from the library, to get a better idea of the feel of the world. And decided that it was not for me. I have never been much into the Steampunk genre in general, and doing further research I determined that this game and world setting rely very strongly on that genre.

Then Wizards came out with their latest Plane Shift setting. This time in the Magic the Gathering Plane of Innistrad. I confess to not knowing a lot about that setting so I went ahead and downloaded the free file. And after reading through it I realized that it is very much in the Gothic world setting. I think that is a cool setting. And I am intrigued by the idea of running a D&D game in that kind of setting. Even cooler is how much this setting relies on the ideas of a Church and machinations within that. Plus it leaves the traditional fantasy tropes of Elves, Dwarfs etc. behind. Sadly, the boys are simply not nearly sophisticated enough to run a game like this. Which is okay, I can leave this one in my back pocket in case I ever get to run a D&D game for more mature players.

The thing about the reboot of the boys campaign is that I am determined to avoid any long term arcs for now. Keep it a simple monster of the week kind of journey through the wilderness. Which limits my planning for now beyond the next adventure.

That all leaves me a little creatively frustrated at the moment. I am pondering setting up a Roll20 game. One of the boys wants to run a game on that setup, and I will have to see how it goes before I look deeper at it. I am conflicted by the idea of role playing online. As an introvert, I embrace the idea of not leaving home. But as the parent of 3 kids, I find the idea of trying to carve out physical space and time to role play from home difficult at best.

I will figure it all out, it is summer, with everyone taking vacations etc. I at least have confirmation that I will be playing Pathfinder on Sunday so I have a fix on the near horizon.

Stuck looking for options #RPG #DND

Welp, wish I had known about this a few weeks ago. Due to the scheduling and vacation plans of summer, my D&D game is on hiatus for at least a month and a half. Which puts me in a bit of an odd predicament. What to do during this downtime?

When I began running games for the boys a couple of years ago it was for two main reasons. First, I wanted to teach a few of the boys the joys of playing role playing games, things that did not involve electronics. Second, it very quickly filled a place in my life that I had forgotten was empty.

Jimmy has definitely leaped into the world of role playing games. He has really enjoyed playing and looks forward to our games. This has also been a bonding time for us, something that is good to have when you are dealing with teenagers. Now I am pondering and looking at other things that we might do to fill our time until the game returns. Because I do not want to lose this time.

I noticed that the table top game Warmachine has just released a new edition. I know that the game is pretty popular. It would be an investment. In time to get the miniatures done and then learning the game. But that would give us something that we could do. And a social outlet if he wanted to play other people. I thought about revisiting Warhammer or Warzone. But while I have a large Empire army for Warhammer I just do not know if that is a path that I want to go down again. And Warzone is just not a popular game. Whereas the barrier to entry for Warmachine is really not that big, and it might be the right scale for some quick games.

Lucky for me I have 2 other games that I am part of so it is not like I am without the opportunity to roleplay. That would be bad. Because in many ways roleplaying has really saved me mentally and emotionally.

It is only a month and a half or a two month hiatus. Hopefully, we can resume then. The thing is that I know that the boys are entering high school, and may not have as much time for an every 2 week game once school starts. The demands of a social life, and sports, and extracurriculars might chew up the weekends before I know it. We will see what happens.

First game down, fun was had by all #DnD #MtG #Zendikar #RPG

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The first session of the new campaign went quite well. The boys had a good time and paid attention and did well with their new characters. The introductory adventure I had was a good, balanced scenario for them. We are all looking forward to more adventures on Zendikar.

I admit that I was a little concerned. Thursday one of the boys messaged me to graciously tell me that he was bowing out of the campaign and D&D for a while now. I understood and he made it clear that it was not just my games, he had been in others, and none of them had ever really spiked his interest. Which I understood and accepted, because role playing is not for everyone. I was a little concerned that with his departure the other two would bow out as well, leaving me to figure out a solo game for Jimmy. That was not the case, the other two still wanted to play so the game was on.

I kept things simple for now. Not a lot of character background needed for any of the characters. Heck, I even let them skip the arduous process of coming up with names. And I just threw them together with some background so I could also skip the introduction process.

I ran them through a small, simple set of caverns. Where they fought some pretty tough monsters. For once they actually have a monster that they fear (Umber Hulks, man they are brutal.) They all had a chance to use their abilities and powers and everyone had a chance to shine.

I am looking forward to running them through some new stuff each week. Freed from the constraints of a complex campaign arc. I can just plan on variations of the monster of the week, only a little more sophisticated.

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Having them use the Magic Land Cards for Sorcery Points and Spell Slots worked quite well. One player said he really liked how it made it easier for him to keep track of what spells he had cast and had not cast. It also gave me a more visual way of tracking how depleted their resources were, which was an unexpected benefit.

Above is a sample of what the sorcerer used in two encounters. The plains were his Sorcery points. He used Swamps for Third level spell slots, Forests for Second level slots, and Mountains were First level spell slots. Now I know what sort of resources I can pull from them.

I plan to introduce some environmental effects from their overusing spells of a certain kind of Mana, but want to run one more session first. My idea is that there will be a couple of effects tied to each color. And when a certain number of spell slots of that color are used then one of those effects will trigger. It could be something as beneficial as a healing surge where every living creature gets some hit points. Or it could be neutral like all the vegetation grows really fast for a time. Or it could be bad like a blight hits the area.I have some ideas, but I want to document one more session to get a real feeling for what they are using.

It was a good session. I would like to see another player join in. But, for now, the smaller group should work fine. I am looking forward to seeing how this campaign develops.

Following the K.I.S.S. principle for adventure #DnD #MtG #Zendikar #RPG

At one time I had grand plans for the boys campaign. I envisioned a complex, sophisticated storyline. They would have to contend with multiple enemies, and sort out who the real bad guys were. At the same time, their characters would be growing up and developing. It would be cool and fun. Then the reality of it all hit me. I was still dealing with teenagers. It took me a while to figure this all out, but I did. And now I will return to the principle I should have been sticking to all along: Keep It Simple Stupid.

The personality quirks that I like so much in the Players Handbook? Yeah, not so much. I will still use them for the purposes of giving the characters skills, but no reason to focus on things like traits and ideals.

Character creation? I am keeping it simple. I basically created templates for their classes and printed out the sheets for them. They can just plug in their stats, pick a few skills, basic equipment, spells, and weapons and call it good. I do not want to bog them down in anything more complex than that.

Adventure creation? I just went to Donjon.com, generated a simple dungeon, doctored it up and populated it with my desired creatures. I even took a piece of advice I saw on TheAngryGM.com. I picked out 3 monsters from the Monster Manual and only used them in the dungeon, just in different numbers and in different layouts.

My goal here is to not overthink this. Focus more on the gameplay and having fun with that. Not worry so much about the background and plot. I will even make use of the tools I have at my disposal in the Magic cards to help the players and myself.

There may come a time when Jimmy and one or more of his buddies are ready for a more complex game. When I can create a plot with a lot of moving parts and mystery and expect them to dig into it and really think about everything that they are doing. But that time is not now. Now is the time to K.I.S.S. and just play. And if feels like a group of murder hobos, then so be it. If they show signs of getting bored with that I can always add a little more. Stay tuned for reports and future updates.