Results for tag: DMing
Posted by: d2OKC on Dec 13, 2009 at 01:38:14 PM
So, here's my blog.
I'm currently running a 4E campaign for a few of my friends. This space is going to be used for a few different things.
1) As a way to share what's going on in my campaign with others who are like-minded. I've been trying some new things with the way my group handles playing (most specifically with battle lay-outs), and I want to use this as a way to both share ideas and to hear some criticisms from others who may have tried similar things.
2) As a way to help keep myself organized. I have kind of a hard time keeping myself in order, and this is kind of a detriment when you're running a game, so this space will be a place I can come back to when I need a reminder or whatever.
3) Just to share some of my general thoughts about D&D, and specifically 4E. None of these will...
Posted by: The_Jester on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:37:36 AM
Creating fully fleshed-out NPCs can be slow and/or awkward, as you need to think-up a personality and quirks as well as conjure an evocative mental image of the person to describe to your PCs. You're working with a blank canvas making it hard to know where to start.
But a simpler way is to skip a step and just base the NPC off a picture or image. It tells a thousand words after all. Instead of having to describe someone no one has seen you simply need to describe someone you've seen before and might have a pic of tucked-away in your notes.
One of the things WotC used to do was host galleries of PC portraits available for download, so you could have an icon that perfectly represented your character. This has loosely been folded into the Character Builder, but that only has...
Posted by: sotp_seamus on Dec 6, 2009 at 10:21:31 PM
It commonly comes up: I need something here. A name, a plot hook, a background event that ties my character in to the campaign. Many of us like the idea of taking the time to write a deep story, with complex characters, and compelling plot twists. Some of us don't have that kind of time.
Take me, for example. As one who had been both a player and a dungeon master at times, I love an intriguing story. I, however, don't have that kind of time. So, what does one do?
In a word: Steal. This may rock the sensibilities of your average storytelling type, but hear me out. Some of the greatest stories we hold near and dear to our geeky little hearts are stolen wholesale. Don't believe me? Watch "The 7 Samurai" sometime, and take note of all the angles used in "Star Wars"....
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 24, 2009 at 09:58:46 AM
When you first begin to be a Dungeon Master, it’s only a matter of time before one of your players comes up to you and asks to play an orc or a kobold or a troll. Sometimes they’re motivated by a great backstory or character concept, and sometimes they just want to kick some butt with crazy monster powers.
A Look Back
What started the trend of monsters as PC? Arguably, it was Unearthed Arcana by one Gary Gygax, first published in 1985 for 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons, which introduced PC duergar, drow, wild elves, and deep gnomes/ svirfneblin. Curiously, there is a great Gygaxian rant in the 1e DMG about not letting players play monsters, where he shoots down the possibility of non-humans. Essentially he was arbitrarily saying that elves were okay but goblins were out and any reasonable...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 20, 2009 at 01:46:02 PM
A heavily-used trope of fantasy-fiction, prophecies and divinations can be tricky to pull-off in a fantasy RPG. These can be small prophecies that only affect an adventure or two or a larger prophecy that has ripples throughout an entire tier or campaign.
The Problems with Prophecy
Generally, prophecies can become tricky as they feel like railroading: the DM knows where they want the plot to go and the prophecy is essentially a giant “clue bat” to hit the players with to get them back on the rails. Likewise, prophecy cannot always account for PC actions as they might flub an encounter and the “Chosen One” might die (or, conversely, they might nail that critical hit and the “Chosen One” dies). And there’s also an issue with tying an epic story to a PC who might die, be maimed,...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:17:09 AM
Evil PCs. The concept so daring and different and controversial that WotC has removed it from their books!!
Okay, not really. Evil PCs just don’t working with the default assumed playstyle of the 4e game (heroic fantasy action) and it makes the game safer and more family friendly. Given the unpopularity of the game in the media and with the conservative right, it is better not to give them more ammo. Assuming everyone is playing the game the same way allows the writers to produce a uniform product without producing a large amount of work that caters to a minority of players. If everyone plays heroes you don’t need to produce feats for evil gods or an equal number of good creatures to serve as opponents.
That said, it is slightly different to plan a run a campaign with evil PCs.
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 18, 2009 at 01:06:35 PM
Even people only tangentially aware of D&D know of Lawful Good paladins or the infamous chaotic neutral barbarians. Alignment is both a blessing to role-playing and a bane, offering variety but being not entirely flexible.
Alignment brings with it horror stories: the player that uses a chaotic alignment to justify their own unruly or disruptive behaviour, or the person who hides behind a lawful alignment so they can be a ****. To many, alignment becomes more of a shackle than a tool, especially those who subscribed to the alignment change mechanics of earlier editions which essentially penalised the player for character growth and change.
Then there was neutrality. It was fractionally different from the other alignments it was often dismissed, or used as a way to play...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 16, 2009 at 03:32:06 PM
I don’t care what anyone says, making 4e monsters is slow and hard.
The actual math is easy. And there are like five programs (one official) to help you. And modifying monsters is super-crazy easy until 3e where adding classes and advancing monsters was a slow process (again, with multiple programs available to help you).
The problem is coming-up with new monster abilities.
It’s similar to the new theories of encounter design, which requires new and interesting terrain. You can’t just draw a forest clearing on a map and call it an encounter and you can’t give an orc a few class levels and consider it a worthwhile monster. It needs to have new and interesting abilities, which have to be balanced and fair. You pretty much have to be a game designer.
I tried to make a 4e version...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 13, 2009 at 12:43:35 PM
A post on creating nations, countries, and kingdoms. I’ve touched on creating interesting nations before but I’ll go a bit more in-depth this time.
I won’t get too much into naming conventions, leaving Wikipedia to explain the difference between a kingdom, country, county, duchy, fiefdom, etc.
Medieval kingdoms are small. Large, continent-spanning like Rome are rare and most collapse after their founder dies (Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, etc) and last only a generation or two. Most are divided into a single ethnic group and divided along easily spotted terrain such as a river or mountain range, with more vague divisions being a cause of war and strife. Even in larger kingdoms, most of the day-to-day and even month-to-month business is handled on a local...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 12, 2009 at 11:29:13 AM
Inspired by Remembrance Day, I wondered about holidays in a fantasy world.
This is akin to keeping track of the days and creating a calendar is holidays and holy days. There have always been days of religion or secular importance, especially if you’re a creationist. We have: contemporary religious holidays, old religious holidays, national holidays, regional holidays, local holidays, foreign holidays your family celebrates, hobby holidays you celebrate (WWGD, Towel Day, Gygax’s Birthday), and those strange miscellaneous days (Pi Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, May the 4th).
These are needed to add realism to a good fantasy world, or just to add some spice to an adventure.
Each religion should have a few holidays; one big, central holy day and a couple minor days. These can have some...
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