Archive for August, 2011

So, the time came when I finally decided to move the widescreen TV into the game room! This was definitely something I was looking forward to doing, but I had concerns about the room it would take up. So, I decided to change the room around! After much deliberation, sketches, and finger puppets, I decided to use the same corner for the TV, and turn the Ultimate Gaming Table 90 degrees to the side.

Looking from the Storage Door

You can see in the background the 54″ Widescreen TV. It is my old projection flat screen TV, which is still a really good TV and much larger than the 36″ which used to be in there. I also added the surround sound system to the room and you can see the center channel speaker located on top of the PA speaker behind the TV.  This moving of the table turned out to be a really good thing, while one side of the table lost a little room, the other side (which was previously against the back weall) gained a good amount of room. The DM now sits on the back wall where nobody needs to get behind him. (more…)


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One thing which is in scarce use in 4E is wandering monsters. It is one of those random things older editions brought to the table in spades. Sometimes rolling random monsters was a pain, and sometimes it was fun. It all depended on the frequency and the chance in my opinion. I never liked rolling a bunch of times for a small chance. I always preferred to roll fewer times with a higher chance. But along with those odds, came the possibility that the party could be overwhelmed. Well, that was just part of the game in the old days. Today, 4E has largely gotten rid of random monsters, in favor of its encounters. Which works out well for the most part. Sometimes skill challenges will have combative results, and some modules include an extra encounter if the PC’s need some XP, or are getting off track.

This brings me to the Short Rest x2 scenario. One of my players, (who will undoubtedly read this) posed the question to myself and the group as to why they don’t take two short rests back to back in order to allow the cleric and warlord to use their healing/inspiring word powers, so that they get more bang for their buck healing wise. Good question actually, since getting more bang for the buck is generally what the party strives for. However I know full well this is not how the game is “intended” to be played. As we discussed I pointed out that the downside of a Short Rest is that you can literally do “NOTHING”. You sit, burn healing surges, chit chat, and that’s it. You don’t loot, search, research, use powers, or cast spells. You are basically sitting down, having a drink and catching your breath, with some possible talk. This takes 5 minutes.


So when a combat is over, 5 minutes goes to sitting on yer butt. Searching, looting, using powers etc. is in addition to this time. So I mentioned that what I feel the purpose of the short rest is an effort by the game to get the party moving along without RANDOM ENCOUNTERS. Now I’ve run all sorts of modules over my stint as DM, and this 4E mechanic of short resting is right about where I’d say, if you take it, and move on, you won’t have to worry about random encounters. It makes it simple for me as a DM, and frankly it works well. However, when a party decided to circumvent this safety, well they begin to play with fire. (more…)

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So, I play in one 4E group and I DM another 4E group. Only two other players are in both groups, and over the course of the last year or so there’s always been references to previous D&D editions. Come to find out, only one other person had played first edition D&D in some form. So I decided to put together a night of BASIC D&D, old school, the way it was pretty much originally played.

Original White Book

For those who are hardcore or history buffs, the White Box is actually the first incarnation of D&D, and went through 3 printings (by my last count). In the late 70’s the magenta BASIC D&D box hit the shelves, and this is the version we were going to play.

Basic D&D Box

For the module, I decided to pick a classic module which I owned but had never actually run for any group. Palace of the Silver Princess! It actually can be found in two forms. The Tournament module, and the DM tutorial module which runs the first three rooms of the module like a pick a path book. I owned the latter, so I went with it.

I had 8 players, all level 1, which is fine because Palace of the Silver Princess is designed for 6-10 characters levels 1-3. Which is a big change from 4E module design, and something which caught the players notice.

The first difference players noticed was in rolling up characters. We went “by the book”. Players roll 3D6 for stats, some of my players had NEVER rolled for attributes, having been raised on Point Buy systems. Secondly, stats are rolled straight down the line!!! Meaning your first roll is Strength, second roll is Intelligence, and so forth!!!! You should have seen the looks on their faces.  Fortunately nobody rolled anything horrible, however nobody rolled an 18 either. I think we had one 17 and it was a fighter who rolled it for Con. (more…)

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