Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 16

Which RPG do you enjoy using as is?

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. 
It's pretty close to what I would have designed for my perfect version of DnD.

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 15

Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?

Savage Worlds. 
It's easy to learn, easy to teach, easy to adjust (though very little adjustment is needed), and can handle any genre.

Monday, August 14, 2017

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 14

Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. 
Since I began playtesting it, right before creating this blog, I've finished 4 campaigns. The first was a playtest of levels 6-12. The second started as a playtest of Out of the Abyss and evolved. The third was Princes of the Apocalypse. And the fourth we finished up a few weeks ago and was a playtest of a campaign that releases in September.
I'm currently running my 5th, Oakhurst.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thay Invictus: Session 2

I'm playing Robert San Fernando, Bobby from the DnD Cartoon "all growed up".

We made it to the Ziggurat and saw numerous slaves and guards--orcs mostly, in buildings around the Ziggurat. The slaves were working with silk.

We noted that hourly patrols were going into the woods we were hiding in and there a single road entering the area.

We headed east to scope out the back of the Ziggurat and got wrecked by giant spiders. I went down, Cutwyrm--our Ranger went down twice and it was only because of our Divine Soul--Echo that we made it out.

We rested and spent a full day learning the patrol patterns.

There were arguments about simply achieving our goal, proving there was a threat here and going for more treasure. Several of us were less enthusiastic about facing more spiders, including me.

We settled on having Emeril, our Warlock, go get a bolt of silk for evidence. He confirmed the workers were slaves and tried buying a bolt. It didn't work.

He went back in, invisible this time, and simply stole a bolt of silk.

At this point the party was once again split on heading back to town or exploring further. Diego, our Draw Rogue and Emeril staid behind, agreeing to give us until nightfall as the rest of us went exploring.

Our group came upon four priests. We learned they served the Witch Queen, a lieutenant for the god known as the Horned One. She was the last Witch Queen and the silk was for her. Then we overpowered them and took their robes and headed back to our Rogue and Warlock.

We toyed with using the robes to sneak into the Ziggurat, but decided to fulfill our mission.

We headed back to town and informed Mayor Jon of what we found and what we saw. He sent us to the Librarian for more information on the Horned God and we used that knowledge to formulate a plan to annex the Ziggurat. We negotiated our fee and salvage rights and then headed out to hire mercenaries.

In the morrow, we'd be headed back.

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 13

Describe a game experience that changed how you play?

It was pretty much all of my early experiences with my first GM playing in his Champions and ADnD 2E games.
 While I have no problem being challenged, you never got to achieve your goal unless you were a favorite player and then you just started with what you wanted. 
The pacing of the story was quite a bit like the infamous Fantasy Fucking Viet Nam, except you couldn't die.

I grew up on comics books and action movies, not Gygax and Tolkien. I wanted big sets and sequences and to spotlight the players. And I still do.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Oakhurst: DMing Session 12

I'm going to try something new. I'm going to give insight into how I DM. Let me know what you think.

After closing the saga of Angelika the Hag, two weeks have passed (while that is my primary storyline, I want this to be player driven and a sandbox, so I always have 2 to 3 plotlines available. They are rough ideas, not really scripted).

As the session opens, the players have learned that Spartansberg, a town to the west is now under the rule of Gargok Trou, an orc. Meanwhile, the Paladin is researching Tomoachan and wants to head there because of the prophecy that the Blood War is about to reignite and the horn they need to stop it. Finally, the Wizard wants to fulfill the dead Sorcerer's promise to a spirit to find it's heir.

The group decides on Spartansberg (what I have worked up is that the coup was bloodless, that's it).

It takes several days to get there and the trip is smooth (I rolled each day for random encounters and nada. In my head I was prepared for a pure roleplaying session, so I didn't ignore the die rolls. When rolling for random encounters I decide what number or lower it occurs on a d10, ususually a 1 or a 2).

On the road, the group, an official expedition from the Mayor of Oakhurst with additional men for support, notices several supply wagons heading back and forth to Spartansberg. Each group contains a wagon driven by humans and escorted by warg riding orcs.

The group sees that there is no one working the fields and that there are plenty of people in and around the fortified keep that is Spartansberg. Orcs and humans appear to be working and training together (I took a few minutes to describe the scene and work up details, in my head I decided that the Lord Mayor had of Spartansberg was corrupt and had sold off most of the food to other cities and owed 2 mercenary companies money for foolish missions. He was lynched by the towns people while the orcs watched).

The Players move up to the closest farm house to spy, but find several women, human and orc, getting supplies from inside. The Thief knocks on the door, while the rest hide. An orc woman questions him and worries he's a brigand and uses magic to send up a flare. Quickly, several orc and human riders close in (I emphasized that there was cooperation amongst both races whenever I could).

The Thief revealed himself as an envoy of Oakhurst and the lead orc relayed Gargok Trou's mission to raise orcs from savages and throw off the yolk of Gruumsh. He was keen to set up a meeting with the Players (here, I emphasized how the orcs were clean, well spoken, regimented and worshipped a different god that none of them recognized).

The meeting was the following morning and the night was uneventful. All of the Players went into the keep where they saw that tents had been set up, as well as foodlines and training areas. Their liason, Rork, mentioned that families had been given priorities on real homes and that they were working on new agricultural techniques to grow food quicker and that Gargok was trying to negotiate with the 2 mercenary companies, but they were preparing for any eventualities (the players kept looking for "evil" and just couldn't find it).

They met Trou in a meager tent where he met and planned with his staff. Magic revealed his throne, staff, and chainsword to be enchanted. Gargok explained that he was a scro from the stars and that he wanted to bring a better life to the orcs of this world. They questioned him about getting the chainsword from Anglika, and he admitted that he wasn't as physically powerful as most orcs and needed an edge. They asked about the boon she refused and he admitted that he turned to the necromancer Zeos for it (I was suprised my players didn't press this more and didn't ask what he got from Zeos).

He explained that felt good that he would be able to put off the mercenary companies, that the grain that the Lord Mayor made contracts for wouldn't be honored (one of those was to Oakhurst) and that he didn't seek war, but wanted his people ready to defend themselves.

The Player's mentioned meeting zombie orcs and he admitted that his regiment was built from the best of seven orc tribes and that many were given to Zeos as payment for his services. They asked how to contact Zeos and were shocked that he used a pub in Oakhurst, the Laughing Corpse, run by Meegan, who they knew of (I had been looking for a way to bring Zeos back into the story and this worked really well).

The Wizard also asked about any McClintocks in the town and Troug found Brennan McClintock for them. The Wizard tried a ritual to put the ghost of Brennan's Aunt to rest, but they found out that she had a daughter, Evie, who owned a pub near Northrun (remember, I wanted them to head that way, but this gives them more reasons to choose that later. Additionally, when Brennan encountered his Aunts things, I emphasized how supportive and happy everyone seemed to be, this was further emphasized by the fact that anyone could receive any training they wanted, they were not locked into a class or profession any longer).

The group asked for several townspeople to return with them to Oakhurst to give testimonials about the new regime (the players, worried about enchantments felt this would give it time to wear off).

Oakhurst's Mayor Leng was stupefied at the news and asked the townsfolk from Spartansberg to stay for 3 days (the Mayor was frustrated at the news about the grain contract, but relied on the player's opinion that things seemed to be on the up and up, as frustrating as that was).

After several combat intense sessions, I wanted time to breath, roleplay and worlbuild. We got that. I created several leads based on player actions and helped get a better view of what was happening. Next session they intend to lead with investigating Meegan's connection to Zeos.

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 12

What RPG has the most inspiring interior art?

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition 
Player's Handbook.
I love the art in it. It screams DnD to me. 
I'm sure nostalgia is a factor

Friday, August 11, 2017

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 11

Which dead game would you like to see reborn?

I love the property and I think it's a good basis for an RPG and has a great system--being the first iteration of 
West End Game's d6 System.

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 10

Where do you go for RPG Reviews?

RPGNow is always my first destination. Then I'll google search and check whatever blogs come up.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

D&D 5th Edition: Deathshadow

Death is a dark and lonely experience for many. Some of those lost souls do not move on, their only desire to move through the shadows and seeking souls to their eternal master.

Medium undead, neutral evil ___________________________________________
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 64 (12d8 + 10)
Speed 40 ft.

    Str         Dex          Con         Int          Wis         Cha
10 (+0)  17 (+3)  12 (+1)  14 (+2)  13 (+1)   11 (+0)
Skills Stealth +5
Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from non-magic weapons
Damage Immunity Necrotic, Poision
Condition Immunities Poisoned
Senses darkvision 90 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Abyssal
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Living Shadow. The deathshadow has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide in shadows and darkness. 

Walking Death. Creatures within 30 feet of a deathshadow have disadvantage on Death saving throws.
Multiattack. The deathshadow makes 2 talon attacks.

Talon. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. 
Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) necrotic damage.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 9

What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions?

Shadow of the Demon Lord by Robert J. Schwalb.
It was actually designed to play a campaign in 10 sessions.
I've run several campaigns and I cannot recommend it enough.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

D&D 5th Edition: Terror Wolf

Sometimes a wolf pup is taken from it's mother by Night herself, her domain is one to be feared, that all who dwell within her are mere prey and it is only her charity that spares them.

A terror wolf is raised to stalk its Mistress's domain, it's victims chosen simply to remind all of us that Night will fall for all of us.

Large monstrosity, chaotic evil                                        ________________________________________________

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 136 (16d10 + 48) 
Speed 50 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
17 (+3)     15 (+2)     16 (+3)     9 (-1)    12 (+1)     9 (-1)

Skills Intimidation +2, Perception +4, Stealth +5
Damage Reistances Necrotic, Psychic
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Common, Primordial
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)


Keen Hearing and Smell. The wolf has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

Night's Black Agent. The wolf has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in shadows and darkness.




Multiattack. The wolf makes one attack with its bite and one attack with it's terrifying gaze.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (3d8 + 3) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Terrifying Gaze. The wolf's baleful eyes rip through it's prey's very soul. A creature within 30 feet must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw, taking 18 (4d8) psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 8

What is a good RPG to play for sessions of 2 hour or less?

For one thing, all of my RPG sessions these days area maximum of  2-1/2 hours and I don't believe I will ever go back to longer sessions. I've run Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Feng Shui 2nd Edition, Savage Worlds, and Numenera like this and all have worked great.

Monday, August 7, 2017

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 7

What was your most impactful RPG session?

Back In the Day, while I was still dating my wife, I ran an Legend of the Five Rings 1st Edition game for her. 
It featured, usually, between 6 and 17 players. 
One evening we had very funny, very improvisational session that focused on their group interacting with monks. Characters got drunk, vomited profusely, stole pickles and tried to steal a pony. Once character enjoyed the pickles so much that they gave up their life as a samurai to join the monastery. 
We still laugh about it.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 6

You can game every day for a week. Describe what you'd do?

I'd run a campaign using DnD 5th Edition covering the Rod of Seven Parts and an epic battle against the Queen of Chaos.

Patreon: The Forgotten One as an Otherworldly Patron for D&D 5th Edition Warlocks

I've just posted my Patron Only content for August. If you would like to check it out you can become a Patron here for $1 a month.

For those interested here is what it covers:

I've converted material from DnD 3.5's Tome of Magic treating Acererak (from the Tomb of Horrors and the forthcoming Tomb of Annihilation) as Warlock Patron for DnD 5th Edition.
This is a living document.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Thay Invictus: Robert San Fernando

Last night my group started a new DnD 5th Edition game and I got to play! Thanks David :)

We're 3rd level and I had an odd idea for a character.

My first exposure to DnD was a display at our local B. Dalton's Bookseller where I read the ADnD 1st Edition Monster Manual for what felt like hours. I don't remember if my second exposure were the toys or the cartoon, I really enjoyed both, but I'm still a big fan of the cartoon.

My 3rd Level Human Urban Bounty Hunter Barbarian is Robert San Fernando. (Y'know,  Bobby from the DnD cartoon all grown up.)

I chose the Totem Warrior Sub-Class because, well Totem of the Bear is just too awesome. I went Urban Bounty Hunter because it felt closest to an experience adventurer.

Robert is a well-travelled and weary young man who has lost his sister, his unicorn, all of his friends, his magic club and his innocence. While his group had several years worth of adventures, the Dungeon Master tried to help them get home one time too many and the portal that Tiamat's tail knocked his unconscious body through wasn't home, but a Forgotten Realms where Thay has taken over the continent and where everyone will spend their death in service to the Red Wizards.

While Robert would love to see his old group again, an ancient mystic has told him that the Red Wizards control all such portals on the continent forcing him to quietly seek a way to overthrow Thay and hoping in vain to find a way back to Shiela and Uni or at the very least Earth.

He's spent the last few years working for the Red Wizards as a freelancer, trying to learn as much as he can about them. In his heart, he knows how herculean his task is, but it's the only hope he has left. They only thing that really matters to him.

In our first session we answered the call of Jon, the Mayor of Lichtenstein, to solve an "old problem". Lichtenstein was strangely free of large numbers of Thayan Undead servants or "goners".

Robert took time to survey the city before heading to the meeting. He met the rest of the mercenaries answering Jon's call: a sorceress named Echo, a foppish wizard from Abeir named Tory, a raven named Squanchy accompanying a half-elf Warlock named Emeril, and a sensible ranger named Wormcut. Jon seemed nervous of the fancy dressed goner who listened in on the dinner conversation.

A slave of a Ziggurat dedicated to the Horned One and run by a Witch had recently escaped and found his way to town. The Ziggurat had been a source of rumors for decades, but the Thayans didn't take it seriously. However, Jon was worried and was willing to fund this expedition with his own coin if need be.

After getting supplied the group headed out to get away from the goners.

After leaving the town, we encountered a strange drow, Indigo, who claimed to be from the past, before Thay's victory. We decided to let him tag along and listened hopefully to his tales of the Realms before Thay and the Undead Lord.

We set camp late and trusted Squanchy to keep watch. He alerted the group to the presence of ungirks, strange wolfmen with horns, four of them creeping up on us.

The battle was short and victory came easily for the group. However, we learned that Echo used magic outlawed by the Thayans and the Warlock used a ritual to learn that the Witch sent these creatures to assassinate us.

As the group went to back to a worried sleep, Robert stared at the stars, wondering if he would ever see his loved ones again and if they were wondering into a trap. What if that slave was sent to Lichtenstein?

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 5

Which RPG best captures the spirit of the game?

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play.
Strangely, I'm a huge fan of Games Workshop's Old World even though I don't play their miniature games. While percentile systems are not my bag, I love what what was done with the game and I feel it perfectly captures the spirit of the setting.

Oakhurst: Dark Destinies

The group quickly recovered from their ambush from the kenku and made their way to the Hag's hut.

The Wizard hid, while the Bard moved around to the back of the hut, and the Sorcerer and Paladin moved to the front door. They both took a turn knocking with no answer. While they saw smoke coming from the chimney, there were no windows to peak through.

The Sorcerer opened the door and saw the very ill halfling, Hugo, his daughter Lea, and Mayor Leng's daughter, Myrtle. They were all sleeping with their hands and feet bound. He stepped inside and fell through a pit trap covered by an animal pelt and went unconscious.

At that moment, Angelika the hag appeared right behind the Wizard who was hiding amongst some standing stones. Then, using a unholy invocation, a giant scorpion appeared amongst several trees close to her hut.

Then the hag and her giant scorpion attacked the group.

However, the Paladin explained they were only there for the human girl Myrtle and they hoped that Angelika could find a cure for the Yellow Plague.

As the Paladin and Bard spoke with the hag, the Wizard went invisible and headed into the hut and avoided the trap. He freed the captives and made Lea invisible and had her run for some trees far from the hut. Unfortunately, the scorpion noticed her and alerted Angelika, who was furious at their deception and resumed her attack.

As the battle carried on, the Wizard made Myrtle invisible and gave her the same instructions while encouraging Lea to move to safety.

Meanwhile, Hugo, close to dying from the Plague pleaded for his death and the Wizard used his new dagger, Shimmergloom to end his life, however the magic weapon transferred Hugo's knowledge of being a cobbler in the process.

The Wizard then woke up the Sorcerer and the group's quickly overcame first the giant scorpion and then the Wizard used his magic dagger to slay the hag and learned Infernal upon her death. However, as she died her hut exploded slaying the Sorcerer.

As the group prepare to move on, the Paladin noticed a symbol amongst the standing stones that was in his copy of the Draconomicon. The symbol spoke of a dark prophecy involving of the Blood War coming to this world and a quest to find a powerful shield and horn to prevent it.

When Lea asked about her father, the Wizard said he was too weak to be moved and perished in the explosion.

The group were careful on their way back to Oakhurst, but managed to spy a group of 150 highly regimented orcs heading toward Spartansburg.

While Mayor Leng was still angry, he was grateful for the return of Myrtle and Lea. Soon after, Lea went into a coma but survived.

Within a week, the Yellow Plague had run it's course and 65% of the halfling population had survived it.

In his exploration of the prophecy, the Paladin found evidence to suggest that Tomoachan, a legendary shrine might hold answers about the horn. Malakai Drenk, a sage helping the Paladin believes that a former adventurer, Jesnia of Krull, might know it's location. Unfortunately, she is in a bedlam in Northrun maintained by followers of Ioun.

The Bard meanwhile gained a patron while performing at several Alehouses during this time. Potion Pete Allred and his wife, Desdemona were so moved by his performance of the Hart and the Hare that they gave him a figurine of a gorilla that helped enhance his magic.

Mayor Leng, who continued keeping an eye on the group, brought in a trusted employee to journey with them to Northrun, a Rogue.

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 4

What RPG have you played most since August 2016?

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. 
At this point in my gaming life, I can see myself running and playing for decades. 
It's the first edition of DnD that I have finished not one, but three campaigns and currently running a fourth.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 3

How do you find out about new RPGs?

I spend about 2 hours a night keeping up with gaming news by checking as ENWorldICV2RPG.Net, and spend time on Google Plus and Twitter.

I do this because I manage Comic Book World, with two locations in Florence and Louisville Kentucky. 

I also do this because I love my job. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 2

What is a RPG you would like to see published?

The Wizard World of Harry Potter RPG.
Just as J.K. Rowling's series inspired a generation to read, that an RPG set in her world could inspire even more people to step into the world of RPGs.

1,000 Faces: The Dahlia

The Dahlia is a Rogue (11th Level Human Mastermind Rogue), Guild Mistress of the thieves' guild known as the Web, and spy for Baroness Dionna Vivaldi. She operates out of the Butterfly Garden seamstress shop during the day and Miss Vivian's Finishing School at night. The Dahlia's identity is hidden behind her mask, a magic item that can only be removed by her own hand. She is known for being cool and calculating and is the Baroness's most trusted advisor. The Web is respected and feared throughout the realm, known for honoring it's end of any bargain and swiftly striking out against it's enemies.

The Web's membership is close to 30% women, as the Dahlia has been recruiting from the Finishing School where she offers her "girls" lives far more extraordinary than is average for the realm.

The Dahlia is really Annette Mosser, a former handmaiden and trusted friend of the Baroness since their youth. Several years ago, the Web was involved in plot to assassinate Vivaldi and she caught wind of it. She hired several adventurers to deal with the plot and in the aftermath, convinced Annette to fake her own death and take over the Web as the Dahlia. The Baroness knew that Annette was loyal, charming, and smart and trusted her to shape the guild into a tool that could benefit them both.

In the years since, Mosser has blossomed into an effective and efficient leader who has even won the respect of veteran thieves who survived her takeover.

The Dahlia is very careful in guarding her identity and has groomed several Finish School students to act as body doubles.

She is decisive and loyal, something that was originally foreign to many of the guild members, but a quality they have grown to appreciate. Mosser is realistic, however, and always has several contingency plans in place in case her agents opt for a "better offer".

Mosser was a devout worshiper of Pelor for many years, but after so much exposure to the darker side of life, has little respect for the Gods.

She is secretly in love with the Baroness, but is painfully aware that Vivaldi doesn't feel the same way. At this point in her life, she has not allowed herself any romantic entanglements, due to the dangers of her position.

She hates that even her parents believe she has died and her one weakness is keeping tabs upon them by taking several unnecessary trips to around their home in the city several times a month.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017: Day 1

What RPG do you wish you were playing right now?

It's become, over the last several years, the only RPG I really want to run or play. For years I was the Super Hero guy, but these days I'm big into fantasy and science-fantasy and the 5E engine just hums along for me. It is, truly, the edition of DnD I would have designed myself.

#RPGaDAY 2017: Day 16

Which RPG do you enjoy using as is? Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.  It's pretty close to what I would have designed for ...