Friday, March 23, 2012

What has been can never be again

I've been following Wizard's DnDNext page like a hawk, voting and commenting on every issues the staff puts forth.

I am now 95% convinced that the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons will be crap. That missing 5%? That is all that remains of my hope that the new edition of dnd will live up to its goal of united all players.

I really see the new edition as being a blend of 3E and 4E. The veneer may be changed a bit to appeal to ODnD folken, but mechanically, it will be munchkin land. And I mean munchkin in the most derogatory way possible.

Min/maxers will have a new system to exploit, and we grognards will keep grognarding.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I mentioned in the last post how I plan to make any and all future dungeons without grid paper, well, today over at Grognardia, the post gave a link to Dave's Mapper, a random dungeon generator that uses "geomorphs" to make random dungeons. I should note that these dungeons ain't got no grids on 'em! Just what I've been looking for. Because why sketch when I can sit back and hit a button. Gives me more time to not do the prep work I'm putting off.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grid paper goes the way of the buffalo...

OK, to be clear, I will never throw out my grid paper. I love grid paper.

Allow me to shed some light on this...

Recently, I ran two games. The first was AD&D. I was once again hurling some unsuspecting players into the Temple of Elemental Evil.

A few weeks later, the same group wanted to game again, but one of the group couldn't make it and I suggested we play Traveller.

Now, I hadn't planned anything for the Traveller game other than a vague plot outline that I once thought of whilst in the bath. I was running the game basically off the top of my head.

During a smoke break, one of the players commented on how the Travellers game was fun because it was more story-driven and how D&D was just a bunch of numbers.

The comment really hit me hard because during the Edition Wars, I've always defended AD&D 2E as being more about story and roleplaying than anything that has come before or since, as far as D&D goes.

I've made it my goal to make the next AD&D session seem more impromptu and be less of a module reading drone.

Way back in the back-when, I can remember my old DMs reading out of a module maybe three or four times. And those were special events, to boot! Things like the Faction War and Apocalypse Stone. 98% of everything I played came directly out of the DM's head with varying amounts of prep. Some of my best sessions were run entirely impromptu.

I can remember getting ideas of things that I wanted in the game, the kindly wizard in a magic tower, the haunted castle, the lost tribe of giant halflings, etc.
There are several ideas that I've been itching to explore in my current campaign world, too, but have never gotten around to putting in front of the players as I seem to always be reading out of one module book or another. I'm really seriously considering scrapping the rest of the Temple and just presenting my interpretation of it.

In days past, when I ran a game of AD&D, I would ignore experience points. The characters would simply level when I needed them to. My excuse was that since my games were so roleplay heavy and combat light that if we went strictly by the rules, the party would almost never level.

I think I can and should use experience points. I also think I can use them to help plan my adventures. I have to remember to use the rules as tools, not straightjackets.

So, about grid paper. I hereby resolve to never again plan out a dungeon on grid paper. From now on, my dungeons will be freehand.  I must say that this is inspired by a picture of a geomorph dungeon that this guy named Steve posted on his blog. Apparently, he's at least partly responsible for most of AD&D 2E, which puts him in a class directly behind Gygax and Arneson in my book. Also, he is still alive, so I can comment on his blog and get nerdy goosebumps.