Monday, January 23, 2012

Thank you, Mister Whedon.

...and I mean Joss, not Will.

You see, if you ever watch anything that Joss Whedon ever produces, you'll learn one simple nasty little tick to drama: Let everything seem to be right in Rightsville, then murder, rape, and burn Rightsville in any and every manner you see fit.

The way this applies to D&D is, if your players have a person, place, or thing that they love, fucking destroy it. Shit on their hopes and dreams.

This should only be done sparingly, however. If it happens even once too often, you'll end up crushing the character's spirits. Your PC's will stop building castles after the fifth one burns down and sinks into the swamp.

During last night's game I did this.

The player's had just finished an adventure, gotten paid, won fame, and uncovered the location of ancient secret power. So, as they were sleeping off the effects of their revelry, a volley of catapults began destroying everything they ever loved in advance of a complete sacking of their city by foreign invaders.

They were forced to flee into the orc-controlled woodlands to the north.

The fires of doom warm my DM's heart.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The continuing adventures of Bognar and Geary

Actual game update: At some point in the past, I may or may not have told you about the player characters in my current quest. If I haven't, don't worry. None of them are standing out at the moment. I worry that somehow I might be squashing their will to do things. Just picture a group of lack-luster adventurers who blindly wander about until I stab them with the adventure hook.

Anyway, the adventure I've set up for them is a blatant rip-off of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, I think. It's the module where there's a crashed spaceship? I don't recall. I've only read about it and I'm not taking the time to track down a copy (read: pirate) and convert it to AD&D 2e. Rather I'm just skimming the idea of a full on sci-fi style craft crash landing into my world and letting my players run around in it.

Sad solo game update: Bognar was indeed saved from a vicious pack of goblins by Geary Stoutheart, a wily halfling warrior with a penchant for fine clothes and hurling rocks. Geary fought off the remaining goblins and then drug Bognar back to town where the duo got bandaged up just in time for another wave of goblins. Geary, wielding his father's thin Elvish short sword, held his own against the foul beasts while Bognar proved his worth against the foes. When the dust settled, Bognar and Geary stood victorious.
Enter the Orog.
The orog was apparently the Boss of the the goblins and was upset that two sawed-off little runts had dispatched them all. There was some furious combat, and in the end, our battered and bruised heroes stood victorious. Rifling through the orog's pockets, Geary discovered several platinum coins that were minted in Asaria, the human kingdom in the west. This orog must have been in someone's employ!
Bognar and Geary set out for the nearby town of Burgton where it was known that Asarian agents sometimes frequent the inn there. As they left town, the were arrested by the shouts of a young human man-child. The boy claimed that he was a the druid of the woods in which the goblins had camped and that as such, the goblins were his problem and that Bognar and Geary had wronged him by taking care of them. As recompense, he demanded that they allow him to get to the bottom of the goblins presence in his woods. I think his name shall be Titus.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hope for the future

As a D&D blogger, this is my obligatory "ZOMGZ 5E" post.

I am tentatively very excited about the fifth edition.

Or, more accurately, I want to be tentatively excited.

I belong to what I believe is the smallest faction of D&D players, those that jumped aboard in the late 90's with the last reprint of the 2E books. At the time, the older versions of the game were understood to be fundamentally broken and when the third edition arrived, it was seen as out of touch, dumbed down, and generally terrible in all respects.

Apparently, I and my group at the time were the only people on the planet who felt that way.

There are hordes of players who are tremendous fans of both OD&D and the D20 system. While no one in my current group (myself included) have ever played OD&D, we don't have a negative opinion of it, and many of the players in my current group see D20 as their preferred system.

I remain, a loyal devotee to the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition rules. I am a simulation gamer. I have the most fun when the rules of the game I am playing are an interpretation of a reality that is other than my own. The way I play AD&D, the rules line up with that philosophy of play very well. To me, this style of play is what makes table top RPG's worth my time.
If I wanted a style of play where my chief concern is making the best "build" and maximizing my character's strengths and minimizing my character's weaknesses, I'd go play WoW.

I think WotC expressed the opposite opinion when making 3E, and very certainly in 4E.

I hope that they won't do the same with 5E, though I expect they will. I've found almost no like-minded players who haven't already abandoned D&D for some other system that was made with simulation gamers in mind, and the adherents of 2nd Edition are too few, methinks, to have much of a voice in the upcoming playtests. I don't know what kind of game 5E will be, probably some bastardized version of OD&D and D20, those two groups of players being the most numerous and most vocal.

I expect that long after the 5E release, I'll still be pawing through used book stores and searching for long forgotten 2E books while the rest of the gaming world is enjoying D&D20.

Still, I must applaud WotC for their approach on the new edition. They have set the lofty goal of uniting all D&D players from all editions under one banner. I wish them luck.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Not dead!

I'm still here, oh ephemeral audience.

I'd like to make the excuse that the holidays have kept me super-busy, or something, but the fact is I'm just lazy. It's a new year, so maybe I'll try to blog a little harder.

My regular Sunday night game seems a little bogged down. The party has no clear direction and neither do I. I've been grasping at straws for inspiration and coming up empty handed. I'm going to go home tonight and dig through old notes and see if I can't find some kind of inspiration.

In an attempt to stave off boredom and get my RPG fix, I've started playing solo. (Insert mandatory masturbation joke here) I rolled up a dwarf fighter named Bognar the Mighty. He's an ex-tailor who found himself better suited to military life. After guard duty got too boring, he struck out on his own. So far, he has wandered into the tiny town of Hamlet, which is having problems with a group of goblin raiders operating out of the nearby forest. When a group of five of said goblins came to town looking to loot and plunder, Bognar stepped out into the street and challenged them. After a pitched battle, Bognar emerged bloody and beaten, but victorious. The elderly town alchemist gave Bognar six healing potions and urged him to move on before more goblins arrived, but Bognar (who has no love for goblins or bandits and especially goblin bandits) resolved to hunt down the remaining goblins in the forest, lest they come seeking revenge. Bognar charged off into the forest and was promptly trounced by another pack of goblins.
I'm thinking of rolling up a hobbit thief to help him out.