Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

So, it’s been a while. In fact, it’s been a long time. But an important topic has drawn me from my blogging hiatus. It’s the topic of perceived misogyny in gaming in particular, but consumerism in general.

First, I’d like to introduce the reader to a concept that I think is very valuable to understand before we continue. It is this: Not every product, service, idea, or marketing caters to us personally, or to whatever demographic groups we may inhabit.

Pretty basic right?

Let’s have an example just to clarify.

I’m not in the market for a pickup truck. I have no real need for a pickup truck in my life. I’m not the target demographic for pickup trucks. Is it reasonable for me to expect pickup trucks to be designed to appeal to me? Wouldn’t they sell more pickup trucks if they DID design them to appeal to me? After all, if they design a product that appeals to me I might buy it, right? Designing pickup trucks to appeal to me would naturally increase their sales, right? So if we’ve established that they could sell more pickups if they market to me, then we can infer that by not marketing to me, it is evidence they do not like me or think little of me. Wait, what?

That doesn’t follow at all. (more…)


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So I recently reread my post from 2013 about maintaining momentum.

Maintaining Momentum……for an entire year

It seems I was partially right and partially wrong. First, I’d like to say whatever happened, I made some good decisions. We have been able to not only maintain momentum for a year, but for 4! Actually four and a half, but who’s counting? When I wrote the article, the group was level 11 and immersed in the first part of a 3 part Tomb of Horrors remake. Since then I’ve had 2 (more) children, ran a full 1-20 level campaign in another ruleset, experimented with other DMs and multiple rulesets, brought in boyfriends of players, kicked players out, and had multiple great players come and go from the group. All while maintaining a pretty consistently fun game and 3 core players from the very beginning. The foundation. A good foundation is vital. We’re now level 18, back in that original campaign and have just completed part 2 of the Tomb of Horrors, once again exploring the core setting and advancing the storyline. Our game is as strong as ever. (more…)

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Know Thyself

Know thyselfOn blogs like this one and internet comment sections everywhere, people  discuss the “proper” form of D&D or other myriad games and pursuits. I’m always fascinated by the subcultures that pop up within a hobby based on editions, versions, eras, designers, etc. Some people think D&D stopped being “true” D&D when Gygax was no longer involved for example. Some people think Spiderman changed once Stan Lee no longer wrote the majority of the stories and dialog. The list is endless. In this train of thought, I recently ran across a series of questions to help gauge what kind of D&D gamer you are, where you fall on a series of esoteric issues that have become dividing lines within the hobbies subcultures and subgenres.  The questions were collected and organized by Random Wizard, a blog I find myself reading every few months, usually linked from one of my more frequent internet watering holes.  Here is the list of questions, in bold, followed by the correct answers. (more…)

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Dungeon World FrontSo, if you read this blog, you might recall a post I wrote a while back about Adventurer Conqueror King System, in which I sang it’s praises, while simultaneously lamenting that the OSR has not availed itself of re-imagining the classic games of yesteryear. Rather, they’ve mostly contented themselves with cloning them, or nearly so. ACKS was a standout in that regard, as it did more than just clone a previous edition. It did a great job of rethinking some of the assumptions of elder versions of classic RPGs, in particular, the end game and class structure. It embraced certain old school elements while pushing the design in a new direction.  To save you the trouble of reading my previous comments again, here is the exact quote:

“I’ve always looked at retro-clones with the angle that I’d like to see not just a clone, but an actual modernization of the systems of the past.” 

Well, Adventurer Conqueror King System is now joined by a new ruleset which I’ve just read and really enjoyed. It’s called Dungeon World. (more…)

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Troll Lord Games, the publisher of The Castles & Crusades Roleplaying Game are always working on new products. Anything in the process and not yet completed is considered to be “on the anvil“. Well, one of the biggest projects on the anvil this year has been Classic Monsters: The Manual. It’s a new monster book for C&C that is pulling in many of the most classic monsters from the 1E Monster Manual and Fiend Folio. It will feature more than 100 monsters statted for C&C (which is compatible with 1E AD&D) with new flavor text, ecology information and beautiful artwork by Peter Bradley. They’ve recently revealed they’ll be publishing it via kickstarter. They’re soliciting buy-in for the next 30 days and if they hit their target, all participants will get some pretty sweet loot. Head on over and take a look. If you’re a fan of the game, this is a great opportunity to get what looks to be a solid product as well as helping it move along through the process.

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I may have mentioned before that I’m slowly but surely trying to coax my current 4E group to give Castles & Crusades a try. We’re currently very happy with 4E but we all agree it’s a good idea to intersperse other experiences just to make sure neither the game, nor the group starts to feel stale.  For my money, C&C is the perfect option. The rules-lite system and streamlined game mechanics line up nicely with the goal of getting a good experience in just a single night of gaming or over the course of a short “vacation” campaign.  Since there’s not a lot of rules overhead and because what rules ARE there are based on previous editions of the game, familiarity should come pretty easily. I’m confident that a good session could be had right out of the gate.

To this end, I’ve started some pre-prep for when that happens. I’ve started boning up on my C&C rules and resolution. I’ve been familiarizing myself with the old-school stat blocks and spell mechanics. It’s been a real blast. Recently my preprep has included the search for some published material to run. Since this won’t likely be a long term campaign, I’ve decided not to customize too much, or put a large amount of design time into the game. The first adventure I’ve had the opportunity to take a look at is Shadows of The Halfling Hall by Mike Stewart. I chose this adventure for two reasons. First is that I’ve seen it in many places, including Amazon, Ebay and the Troll Lords site. It seems to be a successful module for entry level play. Second is that I listen to a podcast called SaveOrDie and Mike Stewart is one of the hosts whom I very much enjoy listening to. The podcast is dedicated to Old School D&D boxed sets, specifically, the Holmes set, Moldvay and Mentzer. Mike appears to be a guy who knows his stuff. Keep reading for my review of this very old-school C&C adventure. (more…)

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So this months RPG Blog carnival centers on something near and dear to every intrepid adventurer. The Loot.  You know something is important, something has reached that apex of necessity and desire when it starts to have 733t (1337?) spellings. In this case, we could be talking about loot, or perhaps da-lOOts or even phat l3wts.  In any case, it represents the same thing, those delicious little treats that are peppered throughout adventures. In some cases, they occupy a dragons hoard, or perhaps the crypt of a buried king. They may even be the subject of myth and legend.  However, the point of this blog carnival is to discuss when those trophies of adventure take that extra step beyond the predictable, beyond a simple object of desire and become a part of the plot. (more…)

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Over on Dungeons Master, Wimwick has a now-complete two part article on The Future of D&D. He starts out by rating core elements of 4E D&D as being a success or failure. Unlike some of the people in his comment section, he does so without the drama of hating on Essentials or comparing the game to an MMO. After reading his articles it got me to thinking. How do I think the current direction of 4E will influence the development of 5E as well as what would I want to see in a new ruleset. Or conversely, what would I want them to change and/or learn from what they’ve done in 4E?  Having had a lot of fun with every edition of D&D I’ve tried, this is no easy question to answer. However, I have a few ideas that would make D&D even better for me and my table. Hopefully, I can discuss these ideas without breaking the game for anyone else. Let’s give it a shot, shall we? (more…)

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

Marcelo Dior wrote a wonderful column a few months ago on speeding up combat in 4E.  It took the bold position of questioning whether or not speeding up 4th edition combat is really as vital as internet message boards would have us believe.  It really got me thinking, and based on Marcelo’s well reasoned treatment of the subject, I’d wager it did the same for a lot you.

So I asked myself, “Do I need to speed up combat?”.  A year ago, you’d have heard me give a resounding, “YES!”.  I was still youthful in my experience as a DM in 4E, having spent most of my time running far simpler versions of the game decades ago.  I was a strong proponent of gridless combat and theater of the mind.  I avowed collaborative storytelling and eschewed what I understood at the time to be a heavily mechanical design shift underpinning all of 4Es combat.  To put it simply, I thought combat took too long.  And, embarrassingly, I endeavored to recreate the combat of previous editions in my 4E game. (more…)

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