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Archive for July, 2011

Earn it to own it!

So my previous post on What to do When PC’s Go Missing got a little notice from the Id DM, who asked me about “choosing a side” and writing a little dueling perspective on XP distribution. So I’ve agreed to take the Capitalistic side and present the pro’s and con’s of Capitalistic XP compared to Communistic XP. (I’m a child of the cold war so don’t hold it against me) Anyway I hope you guys check out the other perspective and please comment on both.

Like I mentioned in my previous blog When PC’s Go Missing, I have been playing recently in a campaign where XP is given equally to all players no matter what you do or don’t do, or whether you show up or are absent.  It’s been over a year in that campaign and likewise I’ve been trying this in my own campaign as well to see how it worked. For the previous 20+ years I’ve been conditioned to only giving/receiving XP for actually participating in the encounter(s) where XP can be earned. The old rule of “you have to be a threat or a target” to get XP is still very much a part of what I learned through the years. “Sitting on the bench does not experience grant.” I’m sure that is something Yoda would say. You get work experience from going to work! Not from going to school.

So after about a year of exposure to Communist XP (as I’ve come to call it), I’ve come to the conclusion that capitalist XP is the better way to go. My reasons are fairly simple in principle, but are actually linked to simple Id like desires. Yet however selfish they may seem, merely just make sense. First and foremost, if you earn the XP, you should get the XP. If you don’t earn it, you shouldn’t get it. That seems pretty basic to anyone whose ever been to school or had a job. (more…)

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So I finally got around to posting some pictures of the new upgrades around the table. So folks have been requesting that I update the latest features, so I figured I might as well do it here. The biggest addition has to be the wiring I’ve put in under the table. Not because it looks cool, but because of what it does for the gaming experience. This is really cool because it allows any player to plug-in a laptop, clip fan, or any electronic device directly under the table. How did I do it? Easy.

First I cut small holes in the support legs with a drill fitted with a round saw bit, then one in the middle center line to join the two sides. I then mounted a power splitter under the center section, and connected another splitter through the middle so as to service the opposite side. This also lets the DM hook up under the table too.

Power Splitter under table.

In the picture you can see the storage compartment under the tray which was a later addition about 2 years ago. Any connection cables come up behind the tray, which is under the table yet over the tray. This has become really handy, as we now use YAHOO IM for secret messaging instead of the AIM hand helds I bought way back when. (more…)

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I know the Combat Manager from Dragonpro has been around for a while, but their new initiative tracker tool is VERY cool! I’ve always liked the Combat Manager, but the one thing I always wished it did was to have a player facing initiative tracker that didn’t show mob HP. Well that’s finally a dream come true.

Click to Enlarge

The way it works is that the combat manager now has a web server function which launches the external tracker as an outward facing web app, which can be viewed on an internet browser or even an Iphone, or Ipad. I won’t go into the advantages of using the Combat Manager program since many other blogs and YouTube videos show this, but I did want to go into some details on the advantages of the initiative tracker; and give some tips for getting it running. (more…)

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So, I sat down behind the screen once again and began working on my 4th Core module called “The Terrible Tower”. I harken back to some earlier days of D&D where words like Sinister, Terrible, Horror, and other less grisly terms struck fear in the hearts of PC’s everywhere. So with this old-fashioned spirit in mind, I decided to down play the name (by today’s standards) and go retro!

This is a classic adventure begin! Very Retro!

I did pull out my Campaign Cartographer program and ordered the Dungeon pack upgrade, which is really cool by the way, and I must say, my maps are looking posh. It’s a shame the PC’s will never see all the traps in their killer glory, but yet they will be able to see the battle maps once I get those cleaned up! So all is not lost, and they will most likely encounter a few trap personally.

I’ve decided to start this series at level 1 of course, and now that my maps are laid out, I’m currently going through the process of fleshing out all the meaty DM and PC text. I found a pretty cool online template for MS Word and I’ve thus far modified to suit my needs. I did pull out some of my old modules and check them for traps and riddles for a bit of inspiration, and I must say I’ve created one of my new favorite rooms of all time (which is saying something since I’ve been doing this for well over 20+ years), and what I believe is probably one of the best climactic dungeon exits I’ve ever seen. It took a bit of movie inspiration (not naming the movie so I won’t tip my hat) but it should prove equally funny, fun, and perhaps fatal. Which of course is half the point! (more…)

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Here’s a topic which is touched on from time to time, but until recently I haven’t put much thought into. However it’s a subject which is always a source of debate and opinion. Teh question is, what do you do when a player doesn’t show up to the game? Now I’m talking about kicking him or her out of the group, but more from an experience standpoint, or magic item standpoint. For example, common logic, and even the game rules say that in order to get XP, you have to play through the encounter. Previous editions have clarified that being in an encounter qualifies as either “being a viable target”, or “participating in the encounter” which usually meant combat. In the 20ish years I’ve been DM’ing I’ve always kept players XP separate according to what they earned. That meant, first and foremost, that the player had to show up. Secondly it meant that the player had to be involved in the encounter where the XP was earned. So if Bob, decided to sleep at an inn, and Joe & Sue decided to go through the sewers and ended up fighting large rats, and Bob missed out on the XP.

Where’s Waldo?

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