Results for tag: DMing
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 10, 2009 at 11:43:05 AM
Listening to the most recent WotC Podcast, I was deeply struck by one of the comments. The speaker (it might have been Mike Mearls, but I’m unsure) mentioned how he had trouble with the wardens and had to be poked multiple times before delving into their fluff.
This resonated with me like a bell struck with a tuning fork. I’ve had a bee-itch of a time describing and fluffing wardens (and, to a lesser extent, invokers) to fit with both my homegame and a previously published campaign setting I wrote an update guide for (which shall remain un-linked and nameless because it includes numerous violations of the GSL, not the least of which being its mere digital existence).
Wardens seem to exist for the sole purpose of being the Primal Defender. The PHBs contain a criminally short amount...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 9, 2009 at 04:18:24 PM
There was the fun worst-case scenario in the 2nd Edition Dungeon Master’ Guide about tracking time, with a campaign that was always set in an ambiguous “late summer” and always had been. The implication was that it was good to track dates or times to at least have a rough guide to the time of year.
On one side of the coin there the sense of verisimilitude that comes with a calendar and method of tracking the days. Time progresses at a steady pace and the PCs have to deal with both the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter. On the flip side it’s faster to just ignore the passage of time, which might be irrelevant in a dungeon or world where people can magically shield themselves from storms with a minor ritual.
Tracking the passage of days is the most extreme...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 6, 2009 at 03:04:43 PM
A response to my last blog post on Drinkin’ & Dragons, and inspired by feedback by the seemingly very nice Steve “WotC_Huscarl” Winter. I decided to think-up some actual drink rules for 4e, challenging myself to make it work with the poison rules. They’ll probably look terrible with the formatting of the WotC blogs (funny how they’re not well set-up for posting game rules) but I’ll post ‘em anyway.
The hard bit is keeping the players involved. As I discussed in an earlier blog there’s no real avoidance mechanic in 4e, so the DM makes all the rolls when attacking the PCs. There’s no real way of having the players defend, so a drinking binge becomes the DM rolling away while the players go nip-out for an actual drink. The best use might be in a drinking contest where...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 5, 2009 at 10:01:05 AM
A companion article to yesterday’s musings on heists adventures here’s some thoughts on creative uses of healing surges and action points.
Disclaimer: the crux of this is not my idea. Credit where credit is due, and that’s 60% the crew of the podcast Radio Free Hommlet and 40% scattered people on the message boards. I considered alternatives for both before, but they voiced it first.
Basically, the house rule goes like this: in addition to the action you spend a healing surge or action point to perform an interesting and noteworthy deed. If you want to something above-and-beyond that isn’t covered in the base rules (generally when the DM flips to page 42) it might have a cost attached. If it’s dramatic and exciting yet not potentially game-breaking then it might require...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 4, 2009 at 11:19:49 AM
Heist and grant theft movies can be a lot of fun. And some, like Ocean’s Eleven, are ensemble films with a group of important characters.
On paper it works great! Instead of kicking-in the door of the evil lich’s subterranean vault and fighting through room after room of monsters and minions the PCs have to break quietly into the basement of his massive tower and scale through a servant passage to the sealed room where its evil artefact is kept.
The problem is that the point of heist movies is to avoid combat. They break-down if Danny Ocean and his gang get caught in the act and have to throw punches. While I’m not so edition-biased as to claim no-combat games are impossible in 4e, the system doesn’t necessarily like them.
The players have funky abilities that can only be used...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 3, 2009 at 06:28:56 PM
Adding a touch of love to your game is arguably the most risky story element to add to your campaign. You run a gauntlet of awkward moments, juvenile humour, campiness, and the risk of being seen a fan of chick flicks.
It’s sad. Romance and love are such powerful themes and story elements. 90% of popular songs are about love, either its existence or failure. Many of the greatest works of fiction are related to love, including a solid third of Shakespeare and half of Dickens. While the romantic sub-plots of Lord of the Rings were muted in the actual text they were one of the first elements to be emphasised in the movies.
Even in D&D fiction love plays a major role. The love triangle of Tanis, Kitiara, and Laurana dominated the Dragonlance saga, along with the skewed triangle of Caramon,...
Posted by: The_Jester on Nov 3, 2009 at 12:17:36 AM
A quick blog post about actually planning and writing investigative adventures.
I did an early post about mysteries, detailing the pros and cons of 4th Edition with that style of adventure. This blog entry strives to be a bit more generic.
The first thing you need to do when planning-out a mystery is the “villain”. For the plot to have meat there must be a bad guy to foil and someone behind the mystery. The “bad guy” could be good or misguided or even unintentionally the antagonist, but there should be another force at work. When the PCs enter the picture the antagonist could be long gone and the heroes are just cleaning-up the mess or the Big Bad could be hiding or disguised and actively working against the PCs.
For murder mysteries – the most archetypal of mysteries –...
Posted by: The_Jester on Oct 30, 2009 at 08:54:16 PM
So, you just killed a PC. The table has fallen quiet and the player is currently working through the seven stages of death. Some makes a lame joke to lighten the mood and it falls flat (“He’s dead, Jim,” or “if you strike me down, I shall become more power than… GHAAA! Didn’t buy it did you?”)
Then the thought hits you: now what?
The first thing to do after a character dies is to ask the player if they want to roll-up a new character. You might *easily* be able to avoid the whole thorny issue. With 9+ new classes being released every year there’s almost always something new to play or bring to the table.
A quick math aside here: There are an average of 10 encounters per level for 300 encounters between L1 and L30, so with 3 encounters a night and one game a week...
Posted by: The_Jester on Oct 29, 2009 at 04:51:25 PM
It’s the Divisive Argument of gaming. It comes up regardless of edition bypassing that drama. Physics nerds have the contradictory wave/particle theories of light, speculative fiction geeks have the Star Trek vs. Star War animosity, and video gamers have the PC vs. Mac and the PC vs. Console and the PS vs. Xbox vs. Nintendo feuds. Gamers have This.
The two positions are: that you shouldn’t kill PCs because the dice tell you so and, conversely, that you shouldn’t spare your PCs on a whim or because of DM fiat.
The first position argues that’s un-dramatic to have a hero die in an incidental encounter. They also often point to the un-fun nature of death and how it is the closest the game comes to “losing” and should not be done lightly.
The second position argues that without...
Posted by: The_Jester on Oct 28, 2009 at 03:25:00 PM
I love a good D&D whodunit! A good investigative mod is my favourite kind of adventure; as long as I’m playing a remotely relevant character (my mounted Arabian warrior was less effective at these, especially with his dump-stat Int, Wis, and Cha).
4e adds some elements that really work well with murder mysteries.
Story Awards and the DMG2’s addition of role-playing experience mean this kind of thinking adventure doesn’t need to have a couple gratuitous fights just to meet an xp-quotient. And skill challenges were all but made for this kind of game, most examples of C.S.I. investigations can be expressed nicely as challenges such as looking for clues, examine a body, searching the crime scene or closely inspecting evidence.
Skill challenges do have to be done carefully,...
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