Friday, February 28, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 28

What's the single most important lesson you've learned playing DnD?  No matter how passionate or dedicated you are to a thing, if your not having fun with it then take some time away.  If it starts to cause stress for you, just take a break.

Life is a journey and there are many things to experience while your moving along.  Too many times I let stress ruin things for me, instead of merely taking time away to recharge.

I'd rather have more friends than gaming sessions.

R.I.P. Aaron Allston

It's been a tough week for geek circles.  First we lost Harold Ramis and now Aaron Allston.

I was introduced to Mr. Allston's gaming work through Champions, specifically his Strike Force sourcebook.  For my gaming group is was like the holy grail of campaigns and we'd talk about it, mine it, use it and steal from it.

I didn't realize until later on, that he was working on the DnD line, which I preferred to ADnD 2E, back in the day.

But I did enjoy his Complete Ninjas Handbook.

I also enjoyed his novel, Doc Sidhe.

You'll be missed, Aaron.

You were far, far too young.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 27

If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?  Yeah, I'd tell myself that while gaming is great, mix things up more and hang out as friends in addition to gaming together.  I'd also trying to help myself be more mature with social groups and be less controlling and less prone to temper tantrums.  I had many conflicts within our group when I was younger and I'm at least 50% of any of those conflicts.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 26

Do you still game with the group that introduced you to the hobby?  Sadly, no.  Mark Means moved to Florida and met an amazing woman, whom he wisely married.  Aaron got married and lives too far away now.  I drifted away from Todd, Kurt, Jonathan, Mike, and Barry.  Richard also got married and moved to Florida.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dead of Night: Deep One [AGE]

Deep One

The children of Dagon and Hydra have ruled the waters of Kthon for uncounted millennia. Eventually, Dagon became aware of Selene and each guided their people to meet and intermingle.  From these revels, the Melange were born. Selene's followers found the hybrids distasteful, however Dagon's children embraced them as royalty.  And so the deep ones wait, quietly watching and subtlety shaping the lives of the land dwellers, by planting Melange lords and ladies as agents of change.

Abilities (Focuses)
1 Communication (Performance, Seduction)

3 Constitution (Stamina, Swimming)

1 Cunning

0 Dexterity

-1 Magic

0 Perception (Seeing)

2 Strength (Intimidation, Spears)

0 Willpower (Faith)

Combat Ratings
8 Speed on Land

18 Speed in Water

60 Health

10 Defense

2 Armor Rating

Weapon              Attack Roll       Damage 
Bite                          +0                 1d6+2
Trident                     +4                 1d6+5

Favored Stunts: Skirmish, Pierce Armor, Seize the Initiative (3), Strange Song (6).

Strange Song:  A deep one can perform a Strange Song stunt for 6 points.  1d3 more deep ones will appear the following round, however they lack this ability.

Scaly Hide: Their fishy hides give deep ones an armor rating of 2.

Amphibious:  Deep ones have gills and lungs.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 25

Longest running campaign you've been in?  Longest campaign was a Champions 5E game I ran with Mark Means, my best friend.  We ran it for almost three years, and before that we ran a DC Heroes game for well over a year.

Longest running gaming group you've been in?  Longest running gaming group was my first group, we were together basically in one form or another from 1991 until about 2009.

Monday, February 24, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 24

First movie that comes along that you associate with DnD?  Clash of the Titans.

Why?  The trailer for Clash of the Titans ignited my interest in mythology and truly got me reading.  Sure, at first it was just bits here and there and then it was comic books, but it sent me down a specific path.  A path that would lead me here.

The toys were pretty cool, too.

Its a shame I hated the film, but the remake was cool.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 23

First song that comes to mind that you associate with DnD?  When I Ruled the World by Cold Play.

Why?  It transports me to another world and I love the beat.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dead of Night: Our AGE House Rules

The Dead of Night setting is running the Adventure Game Engine with some hacking on my part.

Don't get me wrong, I love the system and think it works great, but for this group at this time, these changes work.  Many of the changes came into use because this is a fill-in game for

For one thing, even thought Characters are 6th level, none of them use a Specialization and simply took a talent at 6th Level.

Next, I wanted to slowly teach the group the rules and them were intimidated by the Stunt Charts.   So we're using a rule that if doubles or triples are rolled, another d6 is simply rolled and added to the existing total, however if its equal to the doubles or triples, you keep rolling as long as you get that number.  The Players are liking it and I use the same rule for my NPCs.

Third, I've abandoned Mana and Spells, and just give them abilities with room for interpretation.  Examples, includes Shapeshifting, Telepathy, Telekinesis, Waterbending, and Teleportation.  Essentially, I usually charge the player a minimum of two Talents for each ability, work out their base damage (generally, I require them to take the Mage class and build their basic offensive abilities off of Arcane Lance) and then during play, they can simply trying to do cool stuff and I assign a Target Number (one of the reasons I love the AGE system).

I've also added Bonus Dice.  Depending on circumstances, a Player may earn between 1 and 3 Bonus Dice that can used later on rolls.  This represents clues or facts they've picked up, but I don't specifically define and they have a say in how they use the information by ]helping them solve problems with the Bonus Dice.  Once a Bonus die is spent, they lose it and they can even spend it after rolling the dice for a task, but before I tell them if they succeed or fail.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 22

First DnD based novel you ever read?  Shadowdale by Scott Ciencin.  It was okay.  I probably should've started with R. A. Salvatore.

Friday, February 21, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 21

First time you sold some of your DnD books--for whatever reason?  I sold my copy of Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil on eBay several years ago.

I rarely use modules and it was going for crazy money.  Part of me regrets it though, as I have developed a keen interest in the Temple, but instead of the module collecting dust on a book shelf, I was able to pay off some bills.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 20

First non-DnD RPG you played?  Champions fourth edition.  I actually played it before I played ADnD 2E.

Super heroes have always been a great love of mine.  It led me to Comic Book World, where I met my wife and now work. And I got my degree in Graphic Design because I wanted to draw comics.  I spent hours making up and drawing characters and working up story lines.

Champions just seemed like a natural fit for all of that.  And it was.  I still have a great fondness for it, but if I had my druthers, I'd prefer to play the Big Blue Book over the newer editions.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dead of Night: Abstersion [AGE]

Over four hundred years ago, the legendary swordsmith, Yani Zarkov, was commissioned by the elven Lily of Summer and matriarch of Shrine, Brinna Aliester McClay Stoooghan-Falko to forge a longsword for her fiancee, Unger McDougal Nepal Falko, as a gift.  She requested that Zarkov include two gifts into the forging, a knucklebone and one of her mother's scarves.

When Yani was done, Abstersion had been brought into existence and immediately became Unger's most prized possession.  The weapon was perfect and within two years of Unger's marriage he discovered the full scope of his wife's gift, you see when the blade is battling undead, it burns at the very malice that animates them and purges them from this world.

Unger cared for  the blade for over four hundred years, until he made his final stand alongside a young ranger whom he had mentored for nearly two decades, Triumph Pratt or Trip to his dear friend.

After Unger's passing Brinna followed her husband's instructions that the weapon be passed onto Trip.

Even after Triumph retired, he kept the blade close and dazzled his children with his and Unger's many, many adventures together.  It was always his intention to return it to the Lily of Summer and ask her if he could present it her daughter, Astrid.

Abstersion is a longsword crafted to honor Unger's station as the Lily of Summer's consort and guardian.  The gifts she gave Zarkov allowed the smith to  enchant the blade with both her love for her husband and her hatred of the undead that slaughtered her mother.  It inflicts +3 damage against undead and grants +2 armor against undead attacks.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 19

First gamer that annoyed the hell out of you?  He was a nagging hanger-on and friend of our DM.  When I first met him, he sat next to me and annoyed me so much, I stood up, grabbed his hat and flung it across the room.  He thought it was funny and I was furious.

I was immature and he wanted attention.

I understand him much better now.

I wish I had handled it better.

Things got so bad, we eventually told our DM it's him or us.  For awhile, he chose him.  It wasn't pretty and I regret the whole episode.  When a hobby is causing that much stress and conflict, take a break.

Eventually, I learned that gaming with a fun and healthy group was better than just gaming.  I always wanted to game with "friends" and it took me a long time to see that most of the people at my table were "gaming buddies" back then.  But I have one life long friendship from those days, so it was well worth it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Making Their Way into the Dead of Night [AGE System]

The Cast:

Jaque, an intense young man who doesn't shy away from a fight and wields an ancient hatchet, he is looking for a treasure map the Hungry Hippogriph's owner, Trip, was rumored to have from his days as an adventurer.  Jaque also managed to pilfer Trip's old sword.

Phenn, a Knight of Khonsu, he is on a pilgrimage for his mystical order.

Skink, a doppleganger without an identity or a past, he has worked for Trip for several months and was shocked at the kind man's violent murder.  He hates Eve and and is uncertain of Adam, but he protects them both out of devotion to Trip.

Herman Deadwards, a thief and plunderer.  As the tavern lay under siege, he spent the evening literally stealing everything that wasn't nailed down.

Adrian, a fair haired outsider who is very firm in his goals, he has mastered a strange magic, he calls Psionics.  No one from the village remembers him, even though he was found amongst them.  He can walk on walls.


The priest of Dagon, Lukas seemed to wobble before falling down the steps, and no one was sure why.  Adrian, used his telekinetic gifts to bring into the "safety" of the moat.  All looked toward the door to see if the bloodsuckers would breach the cellar.

While something smashed against the door it did not break.  They held their breath and plotted.  They called out to Adam, who had disappeared, and like a wraith he drifted down through the ceiling.  He was very distraught at Lukas's state and with Dagon's blessing, brought him back to conscious.

Adrian learned that some curse had sent him reeling into unconsciousness and Lukas sought safety in empty barrel.

The group plotted and argued about their safety; wether they should remain here or fight.  It got very heated.  There was also disquiet over Skink's "moat" and wether it would repel the vamps.

After a few more tries to batter down the door to the cellar by their enemy and several hours, Phenn very cautiously left the cellar and entered the main floor.  Adrian "rode" along, looking through his allies eyes.

They spied a ghouls casually crawling into the kitchen through the open door and sniff for prey.

Then it quickly turned and fled back out the way it came.

Adrian "rode"it as well, he watched as it approached a gathering of 10 vampires who had tied up over a dozen more of the village's survivors.  They seemed to be employing the ghouls as hounds and had half a dozen skeletons in pristine armor as guards.  Adrian felt that the tallest vampire, wearing a heavy black cloak was their leader, but he could not understand the language they were speaking.

While Herman and Adrian moved upstairs, Skink told the others about a secret exit and explained to them to follow them and move quickly.

Something entered the ghoul's mind and challenged Adrian's hold on it.  When it failed to break Adrian's control a skeleton decapitated the creature.

Then the same entity began searching for Adrian's location, and with great effort the psychic was able to fool the being into thinking he was in the cellar of the tavern.  Phenn had moved to the kitchen to spy on the group of undead when he saw two skeletons head toward them.

Deadwards, Adrian, and Phenn made their stand in the tavern's main room and with help from Skink, who couldn't leave them behind they defeated one of the skeletons and sent the other one retreating so they could all make their escape into the night and hopefully freedom.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 18

First gaming convention you ever attended?  It was Gen Con 1993.

I didn't have the best time.  For one thing, I wanted to try new games the we didn't play in our group and my two buddies wanted to play Marvel Super Heroes, ADnD, and Champions.  I really didn't want to go to games by myself, but I tried and realized gaming for me is about hanging out with friends (something that would haunt me for years to come).

Magic: the Gathering premiered there and all of those "jackasses" at Wizards of the Coast's booth kept me from buying a copy of Quantrigue for Talislanta.  Just from it, at the Hero Game booth, Sean Fannon, who is a master of customer service, was so hyped for the future of the Champions line, that he promised their booth would be bigger than the TSR Castle.

I did score a limited edition preview copy of the Alternity Player's Handbook...and never played it.

I will admit that gaming conventions are not my thing, too many unwashed masses and sensory overload really cause me a great deal of anxiety and borderline depression.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 17

First time you heard that DnD was somehow "evil"?  I watched Mazes and Monsters starring Tom Hanks.  I'm sure, there was new coverage, as well.  I'm not sure at the time I realized the film was referring to DnD, though.

Monday, February 17, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 16

Do you remember your first edition war?  It was 3.X vs 4E.

Did you win?  Sort of, all but two members of the group moved over to our DnD fourth edition game.  There were no hard feelings though.  Scheduling played a part in the decision.  As a the gaming manager at Comic Book World, I will always support, to a degree, the newest version of DnD and as many role playing games as possible.  So I'll play Pathfinder and run ADnD, 3.X, 4E, Next, whatever.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Dead of Night at the Hungry Hippogriff [AGE System]

In the last year I've been infatuated with several great games:  DnD Next, Dragon Age, 13th Age, Numenera, and Adventurer, Conqueror, King.

Right now, the Adventure Game Engine that drives Dragon Age has moved back to the top of the list.

Yes, I should be finishing 1st Age.  But, I've got two games using the AGE system brewing.

The first is the adventures of the Macabre Twins that I'm running for two of my children.

The second has come together unexpectedly in a setting I'm tentatively calling the Dynasty of Gloam (thank you Ultimate Tookit).  Its a temporary game until Tony W. get's his DnD back up and running.

Essentially, some patrons at a tavern, the Hungry Hippogriff (owned and operated by Trip and his children Adam and Eve) along with the village of Roth, were brutally attacked by vampires.  Few survived the night (including Trip), but those who did faced half a dozen bloodsuckers assaulting just the tavern.  The whole village was attacked and nearly a third of it was burnt down.

Among the survivors:

Lukas Lakebottom, a cowardly priest of Dagon.  After discovering a traumatized and wounded Adam, he persuaded the young man to devote his life to the Deep One in exchange for healing magic.  Lukas is now uncertain wether Adam is alive or dead, but he has been useful in battling the vampires.

Jaque, an intense young man who doesn't shy away from a fight and wields an ancient hatchet.

Phenn, a Knight of Khonsu, he is on a pilgrimage for his mystical order.

Skink, a doppleganger without an identity or a past, he has worked for Trip for several months and was shocked at the kind man's violent murder.  He hates Eve and and is uncertain of Adam, but he protects out of devotion to Trip.

Barlow Bubblshroomhorn, a half-elf opidum addict.  He had his prized recorder stolen and has been confronted by several vampires that would not attack him, despite being easy prey.

Herman Deadwards, a thief and plunderer.  As the tavern lay under siege, he spent the evening literally stealing everything that wasn't nailed down.


During the attack, they discovered that at least some of the fiends shared some telepathic link, and shared the pain of another of their kind being destroyed.

Adam's acceptance of Dagon served as some strange apotheosis and no one is sure if he is some holy revenant or some weird saint.  His sister, Eve, had her blood drank by a vampire and there is concern about her, but Lukas does not detect the taint of undeath.

When the night was over, most of the village's citizens were missing and the survivors found only a handful of survivors. They spent the day formulating a plan to head toward an small island in the Murk of Weston, a large lake close to the Barony of Weston.  They hoped after a day or two they could then safely make their way to the Barony.

Skink spoke with two of the survivors, a dwarven apprentices of Lance McGee, Wizard-for-Hire named Glenna and Lance's familiar, a talking pig named Porkins who swears his "pet" is still alive.  Skink found out that McGee had a laboratory in a cave south of the village and offered to check it out at daybreak.

As night fell the group descended to the cellar and created a small moat of water around them, hoping it would ward away any vampires that might find them.

Skink and Lukas took the first watch.  Just as their watch ended, they began to hear the scurrying of several things moving on the floor above them.  Eventually, something approached the cellar drawer and the protections that Lukas invoked held, their heard not only the anguish of some creature but a united howl emanating from three others moments later.  The knew the vampires were upon them.

Lukas raced up the steps to strengthen Dagon's gift, but some fell magic drained the very breath from his lungs and caused him to sway dangerously atop the steps.  Something horrible lay just beyond the threshold.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 15

What was the first edition of DnD you didn't enjoy?  ADnD second edition.

Why?  Before I played DnD, I played Champions, agame that explicitly let you do anything AND taught you how to do it.  I didn't realize that ADnD, at least in first and second edition, didn't try to cover everything, so, in my mind, it wasn't comprehensive.  This was reinforced by our primary DM being the kind of guy who just said "no" to things (unless your name was Kurt).  If it wasn't in the rules or had an article in Dragon, you couldn't do it.  Plus, in his games, magic items were very, very, very rare and often cursed, so it took me years to realize how essential they were, unfortunately only Kurt had them.

So for many years I dreamt of a version of DnD that covered how to do as many things as possible.  Then, sadly, I Wizards of the Coast gave it to me and realized it wasn't my problem with DnD.  My problem with DnD was that I didn't understand it, and then I found first Castles and Crusades, then Basic Fantasy (and the OSR), Swords and Wizardry and eventually Labyrinth Lord.

There is a reason this blog has that subtitle.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Modern Foci for the Adventure Game Engine

For my children's game we were updating the setting to modern setting with magic and monsters and I'm tweaking the foci for it.

Here is my first shot:

Communication: Animal Handling, Bargaining, Deception, Disguise, Etiquette, Gambling, Investigation, Leadership, Performance, Persuasion, Seduction.

Constitution: Drinking, Running, Stamina, Swimming.

Cunning: Arcane Studies, Computers, Cryptid Studies, Cultural Studies, Electronics, Engineering, Evaluation, Healing, Historical Studies, Military Studies, Religious Studies, Research, Science.

Dexterity: Acrobatics, Bows, Brawling, Crafting, Grenades, Guns, Initiative, Legerdemain, Light Blades, Lock Picking, Riding, Staves, Stealth, Traps.

Magic: Arcane Lance, Blood, Creation, Entropy, Primal, Spirit.

Perception:  Empathy, Hearing, Mechanical Repair, Searching, Seeing, Smelling, Tracking.

Strength: Axes, Bludgeons, Climbing, Driving, Heavy Blades, Intimidation, Jumping, Might, Spears.

Willpower: Courage, Faith, Morale, Self-Discipline.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 14

Did you meet your significant other while playing DnD?  Sort of.  See, Priscilla's family owns Comic Book World and we have known each other since I was 11 (when I started shopping there) and she was 12 (she's basically been working in the family business since she was about 10,  I work there now, as well).  So, because of being a comic book geek, I met my wife.  She only started gaming after we were dating (well into our 20's).

Does she still play?  No, not really.  She loves Legend of the Five Rings and MERP/Rolemaster, but I haven't run either for her in years.  Its something I need to fix.  The best defense I can offer is that after running a two year game in Rokugan (and coming up with oriental NPC names) I just ran out of steam and have no stories I want to tell in that setting.  I should run some Rolemaster Express for her though.  But, not for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 13

First miniature(s) used for DnD?  As a birthday gift, someone painted a Ral Partha Bard miniature for me to use when playing Rann, my bard..  We stopped playing that game two weeks later.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 12

First store where you bought your gaming supplies?  Comic Book World in Northern KY.

Does it still exist?  It does.  I currently work here.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 11

First splatbook you begged your DM to approve?  The Complete Bard's Handbook for ADnD 2E.  I really liked the Blade Kit and after Garamond the fighter, I worked with him so I could play a bard (yes, my dice rolls were pretty sad and I begged to be a bard.  Yes, you read that right).  I was hoping to get a katana too.  He had Kurt run my through a shopping trip and I got the katana (for more than market price), but them Todd our DM decided it was cursed.  No lichslayer for me.

Monday, February 10, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 10

First gaming magazine you ever bought?  Dragon Magazine.  Even though I didn't play much ADnD, I bought it every month.  I am a big fan of Roger E. Moore's tenure.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bigfoot for the Adventure Game Engine (AGE) System

AKA Sasquatch, Grass Man, Skunk Ape, Yeti

These mysterious creatures have visit our world for millennia via interdimensional travel.  They have found their way to numerous places scattered across the globe and inspired countless legends and campfire tales.  Are they scouts, hunters, spies, or something far, far worse?

Abilities (Focuses)
0 Communication

7 Constitution (Running, Stamina)

1 Cunning

2 Dexterity (Initiative, Stealth, Throw)

0 Magic

2 Perception (Hearing, Tracking)

7 Strength (Intimidation, Might)

1 Willpower

Combat Ratings
15 Speed

60 Health

15 Defense

3 Armor Rating

Weapon              Attack Roll       Damage 
Smash                     +9                 2d6+7
Log                         +7                 3d6+7
Thrown Rock          +4                2d6+7

Favored Stunts: Stay Aware, Defensive Stance, Threaten (1 SP), Seize the Initiative (2 SP).

Tough Hide: Their furry, matted hide gives bigfoot an armor rating of 3.

BBC's Sherlock

After enjoying Downton Abbey and Bletchley Circle, we decided as a family to finally watch

Wow.  Not only do I love the writing, acting, and cinematography, but the allusions to '30's adventure cinema is spectacular.  I love the deathtraps and witnessing a shadowy silhouette attack some unsuspecting victim.  Well, not the killing, but the imagery.

We just finished Series 1 and I can't imagine what it would be like to wait for Series 2 during their initial runs.

I'm usually late to the party on stuff like this (my wife and I only get to watch 1 to 2 hours of TV a night), but if you haven't checked this out, do yourself that favor.

On the plus side, my 12 year old son is starting to read the stories.

The game is afoot.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 9

First campaign setting (published or home brewed) you played in?  Spelljammer.  It was how Todd's campaign started.  Our wizard was kidnapped and was used to power a Lifejammer.  As we rescued him, we crashed into the mists of Ravenloft.  Kurt's character was unscathed and gained a level.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 8

First set of polyhedral dice you ever owned?  I had a nice set of Chessex black and red polyhedral dice.

Do you still have them?  Probably.

Friday, February 7, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 7

First DnD product you ever bought?  If you count toys, it was the Strongheart and Warduke action figures.  Otherwise, it was the Menzoberranzan Boxed Set for ADnD 2E.  I knew very little about the Forgotten Realms and nothing about drow or Drizz't, it just looked cool.  And it was.

Do you still have it?  Of course.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 6

First character death?  Aurelius Ranneldi Glorio Ledondo Branneli or Rann.  A 5th level Elven Bard with the Blade Kit from ADnD 2E.  He was decapitated by a Grim Reaper.

How did you handle it?  Todd, our DM made you work for every small thing you got, unless you were a player named Kurt.  He felt that every victory had to be dearly earned.  We'd been through a lot, well everyone but Kurt (he was a Thief with a Fighter's THAC0 and a lichslaying sword), so we were pretty deflated.  The following week we woke up as bodiless heads and were tasked with was a long night.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow(y) Day for a Monster of a Game.

The kids had a snow day today and so did I--although not because of the ice and snow, but because I spent all weekend running Magic prerelease events.

We wanted to play something and even though I've been working on 1st Age and enjoying Adventurer, Conqueror, King, I was in the mood to run some Dragon Age.

My son made a Mage with the Arcane Warrior specialty and my next to youngest daughter made a Rogue with the Bard specialty.

Character creation took about 45 minutes.

As we talked about what kind of game they wanted to play things kept coming back to cryptids.

I won't lie, I enjoy paranormal shows and watch them with the kids.  I'm not saying I'm a believer, but I find the programs and entertaining and intriguing.  The kids wanted to use some of this as a basis for the game.

They decide they were twins from the village of Hommelet and their parents, Penny and Midas Macabre, ran the Cryer, the village newspaper.

I gave them three possibilities for how the game started:

1) Investigating sasquatch sightings in Decatur Forest.
2) Checking out rumors of a magic portal near Grimhenge (reminiscent of Stonehenge).
3) Trying to spot Raleigh's Comet on Point Pleasant.

One liked option 1 and one liked option 2, so they decided that Grimhenge was on the edge of Decatur Forest and close to Lake Lafayette, and they were looking into rumors of strange happenings.

Things went well, my daughter's character Katie got some footage of a pair of squatchs.  A mothman exited the magic portal and a strange robot investigated my son's character, Lance, when he used this Twin Sense to telepathically speak to Katie.  The robot ended up injuring a sqatch, before it's mate subdued the robot.  Katie and Lance then took the robot back their workshop to consult with their mentor, the cryptozoologist, Bromley Bookend.  But before they left the area, Katie got a picture of some ghost light coming through a portal.  She decided to sit on her footage and not upload it their blog.

Both kids asked if the game could be set in the modern day, instead of some ancient world and decided that cryptids couldn't be hurt buy guns, which was why they used bows and swords.  However, they didn't actually fight anything, even when the robot was actively hunting the sasquatch, they tried to communicate with it.  It was very refreshing.

The Adventure Game Engine performed admirably and the more I use it the more I appreciate it.  We toned down consulting the Stunt Chart and just used the number on the Dragon Die as a guide for the kid's imagination.

Hopefully the adventures of the Macabre Twins will continue.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 5

First character to go from 1st level to highest level possible in a given edition or what's the highest level character you've ever ran?  Quincy Vanderbeak III, a rogue in Tony W.'s DnD Next Kit Bash game.  He's 7th level now and we've been playing close to a year.  He's the face of the group and keep's the severed heads of his victims in his Bag of Holding (they've come in handy while fighting zombies).  Our group are grade A assholes, we like to overthrow towns for fun and profit.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Skill Throws for the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System

I've recently become a huge fan of Autarch's Adventurer, Conqueror, King System that takes inspiration from DnD B/X and the Rules Cycolpedia and came up with an idea for handling "skill throws".  This system can ignore ACKS proficiencies or work side by side with it.

Skill Throw Progression

Level          Throw
1 - 2             15+
3 - 4             14+
5 - 6             13+
7 - 8             12+
9 - 10           11+
11 - 12         10+
13 - 14           9+

Then add Backgrounds as they appear in 13th Age.  A background is a bundle of skills and the player may ask if it could apply to the situation involving a Skill Throw.  A character has 8 + Intelligence modifier in points to distribute amongst their backgrounds and may not allocate more than 5 points into any one background.  If the GM is concerned that a player takes a background like Cat Burglar that would grant thief abilities, then allow 5 background points to grant access to one thief ability.  A background is then added to the d20 roll for the Skill Throw.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 4

First dragon your character slew (or some other powerful monster)?  A wyvern was our victim.  It was a lucky critical and prior to that had cut our dwarf in half.  I was a Paladin named Kincaid and we were playing a mash up of DnD Rules Cyclopedia and ADnD 2E, it was weird game run by one of my oldest friends, Barry.  While hiding from a troll, it urinated on our Mystic.  Like all of Barry's game, we ended up dealing with traps from Grimtooth's dungeon and had characters so maimed we abandoned the game.

Monday, February 3, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 3

First dungeon you explored as a player character or ran as a DM?  I ran the Haunted Halls of Eveningstar, a 1st level module for ADnD 2E.  I made the mistake of having a PC discover a sentient blade that wanted him to kill the party.  I didn't realize he'd agree.  As the party left the Halls, they set fire to some grasslands that were ancient elven holy lands and for years I had the elves declare war on the Forgotten Realms over many campaigns (I hated elves).  This particular campaign ended when the same player who was tempted by the sword, a druid now, miscast Web centered on his character and caught all of his allies and none of the enemies.  Again, my inexperience resulted in a TPK.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 2

First person you introduced to DnD?  My wife, Priscilla.  Since she already worked at her family's game and comics store she was familiar with it, but had never played.  We were dating and had played quite a bit of Legend of the Five Rings and a friend, Rob Hall, ran a game of Birthright that we joined.

Which edition?  Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition?

Their first character?  A wizard named Pandora.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge Day 1

The first person to introduce me to DnD?  Richard Eldridge.  While it was my friendship with Barry Black that introduced me to my first game group, and Todd Wallace ran us through character creation, it was Richard who invited everyone over to his apartment and he ended up being my first DM.

Which edition?  Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition.

My first character?  A fighter (I didn't qualify for any other class with my ability scores) named Garamond.  I wanted to be a Swashbuckler, but again, didn't qualify for the kit.  I have a degree in graphic design, and was a sophomore in college at the time and took his name from a font.

Thundarr the Movie

As a life-long comics fan and a retailer with a quarter century of experience, I was today years old when I discovered that Buzz Dixon and ...