Results for tag: Dragonlance
Posted by: The_Jester on Apr 16, 2010 at 07:21:54 AM
When someone drops the phrase "cataclysm" in regards to a D&D setting two settings spring to mind: Dragonlance and Greyhawk. The Twin Catastrophes of the latter are ancient history but still scar the western landscape of that setting while pitting two sub-races of humans continually against each other. The former setting's major disaster is one of its signature elements; the Cataclysm of Krynn is used to explain much of the world: why there are so many dungeons and ruins around the landscape, why magic is less trusted, why the races hate each other, and generally 2/3rds of the accepted tropes of 1e.
In fact, going through the list of worlds it's rare to find a campaign setting that has not had some horrible catastrophe befall it. The fall of Netheril and spreading of the central desert...
Posted by: The_Jester on Apr 14, 2010 at 06:07:31 PM
This week I'm focusing my blog on events that are normally background elements of a campaign, things that happened in the past or backstory and may still be relevant but less so.
In this case, war. Every single campaign setting features or references war, and many have it as an important background element. But few published Campaigns start with a world embroiled in open warfare.
The Worlds of Wizards
Of the published campaign settings, war has played the largest role in Eberron and Dragonlance. The former was rocked by the Last War that raged for four generations and is only possibly over. Meanwhile, the latter was built around an Adventure Path centered on the War of the Lance. But by the time both worlds segue into actual settings the wars are over and the PCs are left to pick-up the...
Posted by: The_Jester on Mar 24, 2010 at 11:50:50 AM
One of omissions in the 4e PHB was the standard chart of age categories. Normally this is tucked away at the end of the character creation chapters, with the other details for rounding out one's character including details such as height and weight.
Oddly, it took me quite a few read thoughts of the PHB to notice this exclusion.
For those who have only played 4e and have no idea what I'm talking about, the aging chart was a list of ages with penalties for reaching certain milestones such as middle age and or being elderly. Characters got physically weaker as they aged but grew smarter and wiser.
The chart was one of those Gygaxian nods to realism. If a character lasted long enough to grow older, there should be some trade-off as they become weaker and frailer. Oddly, senility was...
Posted by: The_Jester on Mar 22, 2010 at 09:46:23 AM
The third Players Handbook is out and bringing with it 6 new classes and 4 new races. This blog is all about the races: two classic D&D races, one semi-new race, and one totally new race.
Looking at the cover, you can tell who the name races are in this book, the ones used to sell the product. The advertised races are the minotaurs and the githerzai.
I love the inclusion of the minotaurs as a race. Yes, they appeared in the back of the Monster Manual and yes they also appeared in Dragon so this is actually the third time I've paid for minotaur racial content. And yes, WotC didn't read any minotaur feedback from the forums and blogs or attempt to "fix" the problems with the minotaur: they're only really appealing for weapon-using melee class violating a 4e design tenant of not tying...
Posted by: The_Jester on Mar 1, 2010 at 11:09:31 AM
Our first glimpse of characters from the Dark Sun setting gave-us a new mechanic: themes. Themes are similar to kits from 2e as they can define a character tweaking their class but from first level. The sample ones are gladiator, and templar – which are very world-specific – but it's not hard to imagine a knight or a pirate theme.
Kits and Prestige
2e introduced kits very early on, with the first of the class books (released the same year as the core books). The 4e dev team did make a valid complaint about kits: the same kit was often repeated in different books so there'd be a similar kit for rogues as for warriors.
3e dropped kits for combinations of skills and feats, but had prestige classes that could define a character. Characters were generic for their first few levels, but in...
Posted by: The_Jester on Jan 19, 2010 at 06:44:48 PM
There have been many D&D video games in the past but are currently no new releases or announced games in development. The first time in a long, long while where there has been no expected D&D computer or console game.
This is a little odd given the cries of how much 4e compares with a video game.
The first few D&D video games were for the Intelevision system of the very early '80s, followed by Final Fantasy as the first itineration of that gave is very much a D&D video game complete with Vancian spellcasting.
But the golden age of D&D video games was the reign of SSI (Strategic Simulations, Inc.) from 1988 to the mid-90s. The venerable SSI produced no less than a reputed 30 D&D video games including five for the Forgotten Realms setting, three for Dragonlance, two for Ravenloft...
Posted by: The_Jester on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:31:42 AM
Last week, in the oh so long ago pre-Holiday period, I discussed attack mechanics and how they poked my sense of immersion. I’ve heard the same regarding Healing Surges so I thought I’d go over the pros and cons of those.
Hit points have always been a sketchy mechanic. People don’t get *that* much tougher as they get more experienced, and games where they hero is always one or two shots from death tend to have high mortality rates. HP have always been a justifiable compromise between the abstract (you survive longer at high levels) and the realistic (one good sword blow can take you out).
Even in 1e, this was acknowledged. The AD&D DMG has a small section on hit points and how they’re an abstract that represents skill and luck and experience, with a skilled warrior being...
Posted by: The_Jester on Dec 21, 2009 at 06:08:00 PM
One of my initial problems with 4e, coming from 3e and its semi-reality, was the disparity between attack stats and what I felt was closer to reality. The hit stats for the initial classes for fine, because a wizard would attack with magic and the two classes that could be weapon orientated or not (the cleric and paladin) had the two completely different builds dependant on if they used weapons or not.
Then came the swordmage and PHB2 where sword-wielding characters attacked – with said swords – and could have low Strength and Dexterity. And then there’s the bard…
My mind rebelled. I couldn’t take it! It made mechanical and game sense but seemed so completely contrary to reality. It punched verisimilitude right in the bag of holding with a critical hit! The designers couldn’t...
Posted by: The_Jester on Dec 7, 2009 at 02:29:58 PM
It’s old news know, but when 4e was released gnomes and half-orcs were cut from the first PHB! The exclusion of a race predicated on assault or really unusual romance was one thing, but why gnomes?
The Gnome Question
So what exactly are gnomes? Well, they’re a race of short happy folk. No wait, that’s halflings. They’re a race of subterranean humanoids. No, that’s dwarves. They’re a fey race known for its innate magic. No, that’s eladrin / elves.
Gnomes don’t have an easy one-line identity.
A Look Back
Gnomes didn’t make the cut into some of the original D&D products either, back when dwarves and elves were a mixture of classes and races (you could be a fighter, or a magic user, or an elf…).
In 1e gnomes had very similar racial abilities to dwarves, only they lacked...
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...