Wednesday, August 23, 2017

D&D Beyond: An Unexpected Upside

I spend quite a bit of time with my 3 Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Core books, while making posts here. I love PDFs, actually prefering them to print books these days, but I've had to confine myself to the print products for 5th Edition.

A surprising upside of my DnD Beyond subscription and purchase of the 3 Core books was how well they are replacing my print books. Finding topics is very quick and intuitive and the areas I'm looking at often have call-outs that reference additional information.

I bought into DnD Beyond, primarily, as a Dungeon Master and thus far they are proving very, very useful to me.

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 23

Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout?

Castle Falkenstein. 
I love that half of it is a novel 
and half of it is the rules and 
they are are different paper stock.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 21 & 22

What RPG does the most with the least words?
Dungeons and Dragons Holmes' Basic.

What RPGs are the easiest for you to run?
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, Champions 4th Edition, Shadow of the Demon Lord.

On Being a Game Master: Player Buy-In

I have two gaming groups and absolutely zero drama, it's wonderful and very refreshing. However, one problem I've encountered a few times in the last year or two is the issue of Players buying-in to the game. I've mostly seen this from new players, but I'm sure it can be an issue for anyone.

I attribute it to the expectations of some players who are more versed in novels, cinema, and these days even DnD on YouTube.

Essentially, what I'm talking about are player's who are constantly expecting for me, as the DM, to provide their character with a reason to continue to adventure. Heck, sometimes they even expect the other characters to provide this drive. At my table, if you are setting there, the understanding is that you want to be there and to some degree so does your character.

It's great to have deep ties to the story being told and clear goals that your character is working toward, but those things are two-way streets. The person running the game needs help achieving those goals. When you sit at my table for the first time, I don't know if your an active or passive player. If you prefer deep roleplaying, exploration, or heavy combat, and honestly most of us want some or all of that at the same time and our preferences can vary depending on the session.

And at my table I'm deeply appreciative, if the players convey their goals and expectations, though I can't guarantee to address all of them immediately.

Additionall, sometimes your character's arc is completed or the character isn't what you expected, and that's okay. I don't want you playing a character you don't enjoy. What I want is for you to come to the table and realize you are running a character in a game. That you are going to work with the other players to have an experience and either shape the story in the direction you want to go or be willing to follow another character doing the same thing.

Finally, every table isn't for everyone. I've had players who didn't care for my DMing style and we all parted amicably after communicating and trying, it just wasn't meant to be.

Monday, August 21, 2017

D&D Beyond: The Beginning

Last night I bought in. I paid for a year's worth of the DM tier, all 3 core books, Volo's Guide, and the SCAG Guide.

I want someway to centralize characters for my campaign and my son's campaign. 

It's not exactly what I want yet. I'm anxious for iOS support and I'd like a cleaner way to export or print out stat blocks for monsters.

But I like where it's started and I want to see it succeed. It's a shame that Wizards of the Coast has taken this long for an official solution.

If you are on there and want to chat, I'm Sunsword.

I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 20

Which is the best source for out-of-print RPGs? 
Yeah, I know that it has merged with, but I prefer going to the former site, maybe just out of habit.

Oakhurst: Dungeon Mastering Session 13

This is an Actual Play report (with my DM notes for the session).

The group headed to the Laughing Corpse to see Meegan and learn about Zeos the Necromancer (For continuity and to root the players to the setting I decided on the spot last session to put Zeos right under the player's noses. Meegan was an NPC a previous PC had had a fling with).

The group meets with a half-orc bartender and inquires about Meegan. She comes out to speak them and they bluntly ask her about Zeos. She asks them to meet her at table in a few minutes. The Wizard creates a magic circle to protect them from celestials, fiends, and undead as they wait (he asked if there was any way to conceal the glow to the magic circle and I allowed him to roll Arcana with a DC 20, which he passed). Meegan brought out food and ale for them and the talked about finding a way to meet with Zeos and why (only 3 of my 4 players ate and drank, I wanted to have them be drugged and offered them an Inspiration for going along with me. One player resisted and I told him he'd have to spend an Inspiration to avoid it, which he did not have. I stole this from FATE)

The players succumbed to the powerful drugs quickly and woke up in an underground cell with an iron gate and a zombie standing guard. The stone of the cell had phosphorescent running through it, providing light. The zombie began to moan and a man with white-blond hair and crescent moon scar came into the room. The Ranger remembered seeing him at the Laughing Corpse (I wanted to introduce an NPC that could become a long-term adversary for the group and Meegan fits that bill. However, she isn't a combatant per se and so I created her right hand, Logriss, for that role)

Logriss explained that Zeos would meet with them soon and would determine their fate. The players found that all of their gear had been taken (The spellcasters became extremely frustrated that their spell components were missing). After a bit of time, a very tall man in black robes that concealed his face entered the cell area. He inquired what business they had with him. The players said they required his services and learnt of him from Gargok Trou. He countered by asking why dungeon crawlers and agents of the Mayor would want his aid (It shocked the players that they had a reputation and they were Known)

They countered that they found the Mayor inept and explained that he wasn't aware of the Necromancer. Zeos explained that he knew that and that perhaps he had eyes on the Mayor. After more negotiations he explained that he would allow them to live and leave and if they wanted to work for him he need a job done. He told them of the Karnak family that had fled Oakhurst and the destruction of the Prospector, their general store, but the Players explained that the Karnak family were wererats and that they burned the Prospector down and had discovered deep tunnels into the underdark and the ratmen who dwelt there, as well as other monsters. Zeos explained the Karnak familiy were not wererats and that the tunnels of the ratmen had a strange idol that his associates required. If they retrieved that then they should contact Meegan (The ratmen are one of the factions from earlier in the game that the Players seemed to have moved on from. That's okay, but I wanted to remind them that antagonists remain and that they are plotting and scheming).

Zeos then left with Logriss and had his zombies release them 10 minutes later. The Ranger began tracking a rider on a horse headed to Oakhurst, but they learned it was Logriss and had no clue where Zeos went. They also contacted Corkie the Cleric and warned her about Meegan and Zeos and asked her to keep an eye on the Corpse as they were heading to Northrun to seek the bedlam inmante who knew the location of Tomoachan. The Party then headed to the Firefly Inn they were staying at. However, waiting for them was Venture Captain Roland Van Zandt of the Pathfinder Society who had sent the original group into the Sunless Citadel. He was shocked to see that only the Ranger was still adventuring and offered him work on a Society Expedition. It would take them to the Lost Land of Morado, an hidden plateau to the South, in search of an artifact known as the Verdant Heart. The Ranger declined and Van Zandt offered him a sending kit if he wanted to join later, he also offered him a special pill to aid them in traveling to the Captains location, which the Ranger took (Van Zandt's role will become clearer as the game progresses, plus I wanted the Pathfinder Society to be reinforced as an active player in this world).

The Wizard cast alarm on his room, while the others slept. Several hours later a ratman attempted to kill the Ranger in his bed (I had this encounter planned before going into the session, again I wanted to remind them that their enemies were moving forward too. Of the group that went into the tunnels below the Karnak house, only the Ranger and Wizard are left and only the Rangers is left from the original party, hence why he is the target). While the Ranger was hurt severely he fended off the ratman and the group's decision to head out for Northrun was reinforced (I know it seems like I'm creating "quest hubs", but I want the Players to see that their achievements build reputation and the world is moving around them too, but in the end they decide which direction they go in).

After breakfast, the group met with the Mayor and offered to escort the 3 envoys from Spartansberg back on their way to Northrun, which helped pay for some of their supplies. The trip was uneventful and about a day's out from Northrun, they came across a Roadhouse, the Hare, whose owner, Tiara McClintock, was the heir to the chest they carried. They stopped and met Tiara and her husband Tode and presented her with the chest...

In truth, I have plenty of notes about the Hare and Northrun, other directions would have required more improvisation, but I'm serious about letting the players drive the plot.

D&D Beyond: An Unexpected Upside

I spend quite a bit of time with my 3 Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Core books, while making posts here. I love PDFs, actually prefering ...