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Archive for May, 2011

This spring I’ve been doing a lot of reading.  Normally, I read novels. I like Fantasy novels for obvious reasons but Science Fiction, Historical Fiction and Thrillers are also high on my list. Lately though, those simply haven’t been scratching the itch. This has gotten me to experiment. I’ve been readying adventure modules. No, not to prep for my campaign. Not even to get ideas, although I often do. In most cases, I have no way to use the materials. Maybe they are too high in level, or too low. Maybe they are set in a different world, time, or circumstance.  Nonetheless, I’ve been enjoying them immensely. I have a rather significant back catalog of adventure modules spanning all the editions.  Reading them has been enjoyable and inspiring. (more…)

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Ok, so I’ve been brainstorming with a close friend of mine. We’ve been discussing the concept of RPG Hooks. We’ve mashed up several ideas about how to come up with them, how to share them, and what people can actually use.  I’ve come to realize that he and I occupy very different spaces when it comes to RPGs (and Politics!).  But this is fantastic because having a sounding board that ends up being an echo chamber is incredibly unproductive. Ultimately I’ve come to the realization that what I want and need from an adventure hook is not necessarily what you may want or need. This is simple enough in concept, but presents certain challenges to the creative process.  I will attempt to overcome these challenges as I sift through story ideas looking for interesting seeds of adventure. (more…)

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Daggerdale Game ArtSo I just downloaded the most recent incarnation of digital Dungeons & Dragons. It comes via XBOX LIVE Arcade (or PC download) in the new game from Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale.  The game is set in the Forgotten Realms setting and is developed by Bedlam Games. It’s published by Atari, holder of the D&D license for some years now. It pits 4 archetypal heroes against Rezlus, a cleric of Bane who now occupies the evil ediface known as The Tower of the Void.  You work your way through underground caverns and mines and eventually through the tower itself, on the the journey to defeat Rezlus and save Daggerdale from his heinous scheme. (more…)

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I’ve decided that I would start a weekly poll.  I want to ask a question that is on my mind and see what happens.

Here is the first of the series.

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Simulate your battle during prep

Over on Dungeon’s Master, Ameron writes an interesting post about DM rehearsal. He discusses his experiences with regard to running D&D Encounters for two groups. He notices that the second run through is smoother and seems more enjoyable for the group.

While I think this goes without saying, I also think it bares repeating.  When a DM is comfortable with the material, it will likely run much smoother.  The easy takeaway would seem to be to prep MORE.  However, I don’t know that’s the most productive course of action. This is simply because increasing prep time doesn’t actually obtain the same results as running the material for a group.

Ok, so what are we to do?  Is this a situation that is a no-win? We simply need to run a game rehearsal or suffer the consequences? Obviously it’s not that dire. Ameron goes on to point to ways we can utilize aspects of rehearsals to improve our game. We can listen to actual play podcasts, spectate at conventions and other things.

I’d like to add something to that list, particularly as it relates to combat. (more…)

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Ok, so one of the inspirations I plan to use for discussions on this blog will be games I’m running or playing in.  Currently, I’m running a 4E campaign at Heroic Tier. It’s interesting because until I started running this game about 5 months ago, I had never met any of the players at the table.  Some of them knew each other, and had gamed together, but they were all new to me.

What this means is that I go into the game having no idea what the interpersonal relationships look like or even who’s a jerk and who’s not, if at all.  I have to say, it’s been a real blast as I get to know these people, these adult gamers, through their PCs. It takes some time to differentiate a person whom I’ve never met, from the PC they are attempting to role play. Who is it that I’m getting to know really? Is it the salesman across the table, or is it the Dwarven Battlemind leaping into the fray?  The lines are blurry and it’s something I didn’t realize would be such a deep experience. (more…)

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Spinning a yarn

This post was originally written by me for submission to Gamecrafters.net. Thanks Brian for giving me an outlet!

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I just read a great article over on Dungeon’s Master and I’d like to use it as a stepping off point for some thoughts and experiences I’ve had on the subject.  In this article, Wimwick discusses the subject of player input, and in particular, how much should players have in building the story and even the campaign.

I think he rightly surmises that player input is both vital to the story, as well as incredibly helpful to the DM, a person who often struggles with the endeavor of putting together an intriguing interactive fiction that is hopefully enjoyed by all.  He starts with the tried and true; the player back story. Then he moves on to what I think is just as key to keeping things moving along; the Paragon Path.  Wimwick supports my belief that Paragon path is more than a few extra class features and attack powers we can expect to get in the mid levels of the game. It’s something we can use to fuel our player progression and set us apart from (or bring us closer to) others in the group in a good way that advances the story while supporting creativity. (more…)

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