This is really cool & may change my mind #DnD #RPG

I have mentioned before that I enjoy watching some shows that show live games of D&D. Obviously, Critical Role was my gateway to this. Which led me down the path of Force Grey. And then I stumbled on Acquisitions Inc while reading one of my regular web comics. But it is the recent episodes of Acquisitions and the work of Force Grey that is making ponder doing something I have not done before.

It was just in passing that I saw a Tweet a couple of weeks ago that said that the groups of Force Grey and Acquisitions were operating in the same setting. Obviously very different approaches to the game but still the same general setting. It took me a little while but I just recently noticed that both groups are in pursuit of pieces of one of the original D&D Artifact level magic items.

It does not take a genius to realize that this quest is at the heart of the pending new release for D&D: Storm King’s Thunder. I know this because the idea behind Force Grey is that they are actually running through at least some parts of that coming release. And Acquistions Inc is actually run by one of the big minds behind D&D.

Watching these folks play, with very different styles, but working generally behind the same quest, has me thinking really seriously about running a game around that same scenario. When the module come out I will have to pick it up.

I can then hope that I can find a group that is willing to play. Maybe by that time my Deadlands group will be ready to change games up. Who knows. This is a real different game I think for me. I thought Curse of Strahd looked interesting but I do not think I could really run a good gothic horror type game. But I think I could run something in the Forgotten Realms if it was basically out of the book. We will see. I think it is sufficient that I am getting motivated for now.


Fresh food for thought #DnD #Pathfinder #RPG #Movies

This weekend was fun. And it provided me with a lot to think about for my hobbies. I watched movies and shows. I ran a game. I played in a game. I will be going more into detail on each of these in posts later this week. For now, I just want to discuss some ideas that came into my mind.

I did not set out to run a Total Party Kill on Saturday. That is what I ended up with. But I think the game went well despite that. There was not a lot of complaining or accusations of my having done this on purpose. I do have a decent place setting however for the group to start in a different setting. The most important part was that the group did play well for the most part. I think that the start over will help as this way the boys may be playing characters that are more suited to what they want to do.

I enjoyed the Warcraft movie. I understand why those who were looking for something different might not have enjoyed it. There were more than a few places where the plot jumped. It was, however, exactly what I wanted out of it. There was plenty of cool fantasy action. Great imagery. Best of all, there was a lot I could use as a reference point when I run games for the boys. I can call back to the movie to explain what something looks like.

My Denver game was a refreshing change. There was not a lot of action. We had one battle that ended rather quickly when we realized we were seriously outgunned. I did have a lot of fun with my role playing my temporary character. I created a lot of havoc and set more than a few things up for the GM to use in the coming adventure. It was very different.

I now have a lot to think about. There is a campaign to plan. I have ideas for other things that are spinning in my head. It was a very inspiring weekend, giving me a lot of ideas to work with.

Guys, check out this awesome site! #DnD #Pathfinder #RPG

I was browsing the web yesterday, thinking about how much my games are going to change when I take the boys to Zendikar. One of the things I plan to do more of is some underground exploration. Which makes sense in that setting because so much of what the boys will be doing is exploring old ruins in search of arcane artifacts. I did a search on the web for some tools for making dungeon maps. One I had found before, that was interesting but not really what I wanted. Then I found this site:


With the discovery of this site, my job as a GM will change dramatically. While I am not the type to run pre-made adventures, this is different. There are so many options available. This site contains an amazing wealth of tools.

There are random name generators, for fantasy, science fiction, elvish and dwarven characters. Name generators for Inns and towns.There are random generators for worlds and adventures. That is all incredibly useful for me.

Last of all, there are random generators for dungeons. We are talking about random maps. It also will populate the dungeon for you, with monsters, traps, and even treasure! They are even scalable to the size and power of the party, so I do not have to spend much time doing all of that mental work. There is even an option of creating the encounters without the dungeon if you want.

I cannot tell you how much of a relief this can be for me. I can still craft my larger story around all of this. And alter and edit the dungeon to fit that story if I need to. That takes a lot of the drudgery out of my preparation. So I can focus on writing the rest of the adventures.

Another great thing about this is if you should find yourself in a place where you need to come up with an adventure on the fly. Say you have a group of people who want to play a quick one-shot game, but don’t have an adventure ready, what do you do? This site is a perfect option. They are not the most sophisticated adventures. But they would certainly do for a simple night.


Role playing needs a shared vision #DnD #RPG

The best role playing sessions occur when everyone in the group has a shared vision of what they are seeing and where they are. Trying to force a campaign idea on people who have no idea what they should be seeing can create a real problem. Which is one of the problems I have run into the most when trying to GM games in the past.

One of the most vivid role playing experiences I ever had was also one of the oddest. A friend of mine, who is also one of the best GM’s I know, decided to do a one shot of this role playing game and campaign he came up with, called ‘Redneck: the Reckoning’. I won’t bother trying to describe what happened, or the game itself. All I can say is that what ensued was almost a shared hallucination. Those of us who played that night often used words like a weird trip to describe it. It was both bizarre and memorable. But the biggest take away was that everyone who played that night had a shared idea of what we were playing, we all knew what was going on.

And a good game or campaign is like that. The players buy into the core concepts of the world. Like the world of the Undead that my Pathfinder game I am in. We all have a good, common view of what sort of world it is, and what we will see and run into. So we do not have to cope with any serious anachronisms, because we all have bought into the GM’s vision of his world.

Some games are like that on their own. If you play Shadowrun for example, you know exactly what sort of world to expect. Your campaign might differ from another, but you can all share certain things: what guns suck, what spells are overpowered. Or Deadlands, everyone knows what a Western look like, just add some weirdness and undead and voila everyone pretty much understands and agrees on what Deadlands is like.

In the past, even in the first game for the boys, I ran into this problem. So when you mention Waterdeep or Cormyr to the players, you get blank faces. And when I tried to run my own games in the past things just didn’t quite work. Like my SavageRun game, or various GURPS worlds that I tried to run.

The trouble is I have my own vision of these worlds, and my flavor is very much informed by my inspirations. Inspirations that not everyone may share. For example I was surprised today when I found out someone had not read or watched Game of Thrones, and didn’t care for Conan.

Last weekend I watched a good chunk of the Magnificent Seven, which is a great movie (yeah I know it is based on 7 Samurai, which is probably better.) And I started thinking about how to craft a scenario based on that story. Then it hit me, the boys don’t know that movie from the original. So I could not reference the movie and expect them to get any of what I was doing.

We all have different experiences and interests and bring them to our games. And as a GM we cannot expect everyone to ‘get it’. But what we can do is create stories, campaigns, that pull the players in, so they begin to ‘get it’.

There are a couple different ways to do that. Run something familiar to the players (Deadlands, 7th Seas are good examples.) Ask, demand, cajole your players to introduce themselves to the material beforehand. You can do the sudden dump, like dropping the players from one world they understand into one they don’t (which still has the obstacle of trying to explain it.)

But what I think works best is to ask the players to start in a common, small location, and then use their own adventures as a way to learn about the big wide world around them. This works best in a fantasy style game, where technology limits the players experience. Kind of hard to ask the players to know nothing about the world around them in an advanced society like Shadowrun for example.

The biggest thing though is that the players at some point begin to ‘get it’. That they begin to talk about the world around them. Towns where they adventured, naming the Gods of the world. When they begin to do that you know you have them, they have bought in. It isn’t always easy, or even possible, but when it happens it is a great feeling.

Trying to tackle one of the great paradoxes of RPG’s #DnD #RPG

When I was younger I fancied myself a bit of a military historian. I read a lot of books, especially on the medieval and renaissance eras. This tied in with my love of D&D and role playing games. But the more I read and learned I began to notice a paradox. Your D&D warrior in heavy armor is far more effective than the figures that historically ended the rule of the heavy armored horse. The system that uses Armor Class as a measurement of how hard it is to hit your opponent will favor heavy armor over skill. While traditionally heavy armor was less a detriment to being hit so much as it allowed the wearer to absorb damage. That is the paradox that has always bothered me.

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Restless and looking to the East

The second of my fictional shorts, introducing eventual protagonists for the boys game.

Nawg Mokjm frowned, while casually backhanding the goblin messenger across the tent. Of course he had come to tell him that more of the damned Western knights were coming into the mountains. Bad news, that was all he had heard since assuming the role of tribal leader of his tribe. A role with even more significance as his tribe was still the largest Orc tribe here in the mountains. It almost made the memory of crushing his father’s skull with his ax less pleasant, an act that had given him his present position.

Then he heard a commotion outside the tent, some squealing, and then one of his guards stuck his head in.

“Anudder Gobby scout boss, this one claims da Eastern haze is gone.”

“What!? Throw his lying carcass in here to explain.”

“Sure ting boss.”

The little goblin came flying in, landing on it’s head with a soft crunch. Then it rolled over, whimpered and then slowly came to it’s knees.

“What do you mean the Eastern haze is gone? Explain yourself!”

“I… it is gone sire, see me and my brothers was out looking for food, food for the tribe of course, and we got to where the Haze is and it was gone. I pushed a few brothers across the line to be sure, and they lived, said they dinnt feel nuffink.”

Nawg rose from his chair, kicked the goblin aside, grabbed his ax and strode from his tent.

“Follow me, and bring that gobby, so if he’s lying I can make sure he suffers!” he thundered.

Nawg and his guard followed the trail east over the hill to the line where they normally would have stopped. For all of their memories and stories there was the Easter Haze. A line of clouds that came down to the ground, and from which no one, no Orc, no goblin, no worg, nothing ever returned. In all of the tribes stories that line had kept them from venturing East. A sad limitation when the damned knights of the west kept pressing with their farmers.

When he got to the valley floor where the haze normally was he saw that the goblin was right, it was gone. He could see clear across, and a rich valley lay spread out to the east. He grabbed the goblin by the scruff of it’s neck, wound up and tossed him as far as he could. Nawg having been the goblin throwing champion of the tribe, that was a long ways. The goblin screamed as he flew, and landed with a satisfying crunch.

But the goblin got up, rubbed it’s head and then jumped up and down.

“See, I ain’t hurt, I can see you, it is safe just like I said!”

Nawg slowly stepped over what was clearly the line where the haze once stood. Nothing happened, he took a few more steps, still nothing. He heard animals making sounds, birds chirping, saw a deer grazing up the hillside. He wound up and threw his ax, killing the deer with a soft thunk. And he began to laugh, then howled. No more would the Orcs have to survive on the fringes of the western kingdoms. No more having to eat the occasional goblin when meat was scarce. And most importantly finally a place for the Orcs to roam and plunder.

Darkness Rising, smoke on the horizon

I had the urge to just write some fiction. So I decided to try some simple character introductions, introducing some future NPC’s for the Boy’s campaign, as well as introducing some of the themes they will be dealing with in the future. This is the first one.

Risaka felt it, deep down in her cave dwelling. First a great gathering of magic, followed by the great surge of power. Some fool of a mage must have unleashed a massive ritual. As she meditated she sought out more information out on the planes. Gradually she learned what had happened. A Phoenix mage, threatened by the powers of Chaos unleashed a ritual that he thought would wipe out Chaos. It did hurt the Chaos powers, but it took a massive toll on the population of the Empire, Initial news from the powers of the underworld seemed to make it sound as if a half or more of the population of the Empire had died.

The ritual’s power may have damaged the Chaos powers significantly, but at the cost of providing a vast amount of Negative energy. Energy that was going to only power the Undead. She could already feel the bodies beginning to rise in the world abover her. And even worse, dark powers in the Hills of Sorrow were awakening and exulting in the vast amount of energy at their disposal. The result of all this would only be a massive rise in the number of Undead creatures, and some of them with the power at their disposal to create vast armies. This could very easily mean the Empire turning into another Empire of death, ruled by creatures of the Night.

Then, at the limits of her own seeking, Risaka felt a stirring to the West. The Great Barrier that had protected the Empire in the mountains was gone, without the mages and priests to maintain it. And that meant other invasions. The savage barbaric creatures of the West would soon be flowing into the Empire as well. A massive battle for control was brewing on the horizon.

Those pitiful few remnants of the Empire would try to band together in their cities, hoping the old Scrolls would keep out the Undead. The Undead would spread out, killing everything in their path. And the savages would clash with all as they sought only the riches of the once mighty Empire. It would be a dark time indeed.

And Risaka gloried in anticipation. So many opportunities lay out there for her, just waiting to be grabbed. First she would need to resolve immediate problems. She must find those who killed her adopted son, if they still lived. But she imagined they did, the filthy outlanders. She would wait and see, they would raise their heads if they lived, she was sure of that. And while she waited she would begin to amass her power, and make her plans. And when the time came her vengeance would be awesome to behold.

Not even sure how to answer this one #DnD #30DayChallenge #StarWars


Day 13 – Favorite Trap/Puzzle

I don’t use traps or puzzles. So I really have nothing to say about this topic. Just want to say I covered it. I’m terrible at puzzles myself so devising one is just not something I will do. So there you have it.


It’s gonna be Star Wars

A few weeks back I was looking at alternate game systems to dive into at some point. I was torn between Shadowrun and Star Wars. It really comes down to what do I have a better feel for and can come up with games for the boys. While I know Shadowrun well, and know the system and general world, I just don’t think I would be able to get the boys into that world.

So I have decided to focus on Star Wars. I’ve been reading some of the novels, which are actually better than I thought. And occasionally re-watching a Clone Wars episode or 2. And of course there will be the new movie in December, which is what I will use as my impetus.

I am semi-patiently waiting for the new game set to come out from Fantasy Flight. I want to use that one as it will include the ability to use the Force, which I think is vital to being able to interest the boys. Not all of them could play Jedi, but Star Wars just isn’t Star Wars without at least someone spouting about an ancient religion.

I am taking my time right now, really getting my head into the Universe. I want my knowledge of the campaign to be almost second nature by the time I begin running the game. Not necessarily trying to script out a long campaign, but just so when I do have to wing something I can.

Oh oh, now I’ve gone and done it

When I was doing that little research for my rant about publishing and costs for Role playing games I went down a rabbit hole, and now I am not sure how to get back out. I have begun to look with lust and avarice at other games, I’m sorry Dungeons and Dragons, I will always love you, but you don’t give me everything I want and so my eyes wander sometimes.

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Developing ideas, I think I have come across a good one #DnD

When you have been into role playing and fantasy books as long as I have there are always lots of ideas swirling around in your head. Not all of them make sense for what you are doing, campaign ideas that just don’t fit. Then others are waiting, in the back of your head like a cat, to pounce when the time is right.

Continue reading “Developing ideas, I think I have come across a good one #DnD”