Thursday, July 25, 2013

Random Subclass Shout Out

I've made a few posts in the past talking about my enjoyment with AD&D's Class Kit system, my take on creating class kits on the fly and my attempts at doing this in my current campaignDyson Logos who many know for his excellent maps has been producing a series of d12 Random subclasses each Thursday.  Many of them are quite interesting, simple and to the point without undue mechanical clutter and would make a great addition to your Labyrinth Lord game.  I suggest you check them out.

My personal favorite are the Elven subclasses.

Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil Session Recap #2.2

Art by pungang of Deviantart

The other part of the session dealt with the continuing misadventures of Bronan the Barbarian and his crew of 'sidekicks'.  While Maxmilian was busy with the lethal tea drinking samurai Bronan and company were busy being sapped over the head repeatedly.  When the surly Dwarf refused to yield his head was encased in a bubble of water while a well dressed man with a spider silk vest and slicked back hair leveled a staff tipped with a blue gem at him and admonished his henchman in the worst British accent you can think of.

Bronan awoke beneath a rock cairn pulsating with the slow rhythmic chanting of the earth cultists surrounding him.  His joints stiffened and his skin turned rock solid and grey, eventually he passed through the stone and emerged through the other side looking not unlike a statue.  He confronted the high priest Romaag who explained that Bronan was the first successful experiment creating a durable stone soldier.  All the others, he motioned to the statues surrounding the altar, were failures.  He promised Bronan power, riches and leadership if he joined the cause and sent him on a mission to find a giant snake (twist on the conventional quest he gives) and to prove the strength of his sorceries by showing Bronan just how resilient he now was.  Thus began the wanderings of Bronan.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Returning to the Temple of Elemental Evil (Session Recap #2.1)

The first session after a long hiatus was an overwhelming success.  All in all it was good to be back in the saddle again; getting a chance to test out the numerous concepts and system changes I've made since we last played a year ago.  Character (re)creation was estimated to take 10 minutes for the group but instead approached 25 minutes.  The most time was spent selecting optional stats (as to be expected) but a surprising amount was invested in choosing a profession, a fairly minor choice that determines what you are capable of depending on your background.  Skills without a cumbersome skill system if you will.  Two portions of character creation were omitted, they would easily take the most time to decide so I planned on introducing them later.  Better to get a stable test bed on the foundations before adding in additional variables.  Other than that the system was swift and simple, players acclimated to it quickly and it still had enough nuances to keep things interesting rather than overly-simplistic.  I mentioned to them at the end that in the spirit of hard core OD&D we would be eschewing class features.  If you want to be a spy then lie, cheat deceive, subvert, conceal and double cross, your barbarian should be brash, insulting, table flipping mug spilling, machismo roughneck with a penchant for blood boiling rages.  Pull that off and you'll see something resembling class features.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Back to campaigning and looming October deadlines

This weekend will by my first D&D game in just about a year.  A lot has happened since then on this rollercoaster of life.  I'm excited to be back in the game, to gather round the table with friends I haven't seen in a while and rolling dice like the good old days.  It is also an opportunity to debut a new revision of the system I've been tinkering with for close to four years now.  Turns out taking time off gives you a new clarity towards what you were designing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dark Souls: Choice in Weapons

This time I'm going to look at choosing a weapon and how it is handled in Dark Souls.  The most basic thing to take a look at is whether or not you can wield it, that is do you meet or exceed the stat requirement?  As I mentioned before the Souls series is designed so that you can complete the game right from the get go and that is still true here.  Most straight swords required a decent but average mix of strength and dexterity, curved weapons require more dexterity while axes and hammers require more strength to heft properly.  For the most part almost all weapons can be wielded from the get go provided they fit the base stats your archetype gives you (your thief won't be wielding morning stars and your iron clad knight won't be firing any bows from the get go).  The only weapons that require stats beyond what is given at level 1 are the extremes:  the freakishly large swords, axes, and shields that require equally absurd strength requirements or the specialist katanas that require a good deal more Dex to make use of their Iai strike and elongated edge.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dark Souls: Fantastic Vistas

As I emphasized in the previous post Dark Souls is an electronic game that most closely emulates the feel of old school D&D.  It is simple yet contains a great deal of depth, the more effort you put into learning to control it and understanding the inner workings of its world the more you will benefit and the easier you can progress.  As a longtime DM I find the idea of not just mechanics, but basic gameplay that motivates the players to become more engaged with handling their characters but most especially learning about the world you've created to be a very fascinating and coveted concept.  One way Dark Souls approaches this is simply the scenery and setting and the gorgeous vistas you can reach if you simply pay attention.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

On the fourth of July

There is no better time for a medieval fantastical Captain America.
To make a cameo in our games

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dark Souls: Play Smarter (Play Cautiously)

Quote by Bruce Lee

Dark Souls makes no qualms about being a difficult game.  The world is dangerous and it wastes no time in telling you that.  It is a series where dying is a fact of life but also of gameplay.  You play either as a soul trapped within the Nexus beneath the confines of the Arch Demon ravaged world ala Demon's Souls.  Alternatively in Dark Souls you play as one cursed by undeath seeking to restore your humanity and rekindle the fire left in the world.  Dying is expected of you as it is deeply ingrained into these settings.  Those that die too often, that lose their humanity become hollow twisted versions of themselves, even NPCs can fall victim to this.  Death is not the end of the world.  Instead dying teaches you; it teaches you not to make that mistake again.  Should you possess the skill and the patience to return to where you perished you may reclaim all the souls (universal experience and monetary unit) and humanity (universal gameplay unit) that you had lost.  In this respect you are encouraged to keep playing, to get back to where you slipped up and start again without having starting anew.  Death does not impede progress, it makes you more prepared for what else awaits in your journey.  Death is the key to becoming great and fulfilling your destiny.  Death will force you to be smarter, and you will grow to be very cautious.

Swift Death from the upcoming Dark Souls 2