Posts Tagged ‘dungeons and dragons’

First off, it has been a  while since I last blogged, mostly due to school and a job, so I apologize for the absence. Good news is I should be graduating this month with my Psychology Degree! YAY Go me!

Anyway, this isn’t a post for or against the age old trick/dilemma of splitting an adventuring party. This is merely an observation from a 4E standpoint. To set the scenario, I’ll start with the fact I’m currently running the Scales of War campaign, published by dragon magazine. It’s a campaign which takes the characters from level 1-30, and my current group (new players aside) have been playing since level 1. We are currently level 12 and running through the Module “The Bitter Glass”.

Now, I’m not an inflexible DM by any means, and I usually let the dice fall where they fall since I believe D&D is not just a story but a game as well. There are winners, and sometimes losers. I’m not a 90’s child where little Johnny gets a consolidation prize because “everybody is a winner”. If the PC’s mess up, they could lose their character. (more…)


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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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The bad guys run! Are you going to just stand there and let them get away? or You turn tail and make for cover with your enemies in hot pursuit!

Climb Speed FTW!

With all the discussion over long combats, and lack of RP on the blogs lately, I’ve written a universal chase scene which can either act as a scene all unto itself, or be an ending to a combat encounter. The goal here is threefold:

  1. To provide a skill challenge which can be used by the PC’s from either side of the fence.
  2. Provide a faster alternative to ending a battle rather than whittle down every single HP an NPC has.
  3. Provide a Chase skill challenge that is opposed rather than one sided.

Again, this is a skill challenge that can be used in a variety of environments as you will see, and in any situation. It can likewise be used as a stand-alone situation or when enemies flee combat as well as from the angle of being the pursuer or the fleer. It can also be a single or multi-participant challenge.

The goal is to create a challenge which uses a broad array of skills which can be moderated by the DM according to the environment. It also factors in modes of movement advantages, number of participant advantages, and level of participant difficulty, as well as factoring the Endurance of those who are part of the chase.


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This weekend I had a two separate conversations regarding skill challenges. As it so happened I triggered one this weekend while playing with the ID DM and it also triggered a side conversation. The question(s) was asked, Do you tell players when they have triggered a skill challenge?
Well, this was an interesting question, and since the idea of the skill challenge is semi-new to RP. Sure they’ve been there before, but not in such the technical and literal sense. Here’s my take on the matter.

Skill Challenged!

First off, there are two types of skill “checks”. There’s the obstacle, and the challenge. The obstacle is what most of us are used too seeing. Pick the lock, climb the wall, jump over the table, search for traps. These are all obstacles which rely on a single die roll or check. An obstacle is a pass or fail type of check, where sometimes there is a partial level of success. A skill challenge is an obstacle which requires multiple checks to either pass or fail a larger goal. Such challenges can as simple as traveling over difficult terrain, or scouring the city for information on the evil den of thieves, to something as dangerous as shutting down a mystical portal which is pounding the party with evil energy each round. Which is what happened this weekend.


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Here’s on issue which came up while I was replying to the Id DM. It was the difference between skill versatility in 3.5 and 4E.

Honestly, I think one of the issues 4E succeeds in is the consolidation of skills. Previous editions required skills for every single little thing you wanted to do. Consolidation makes things so much easier and flexible for both the player and the DM. Diversity in skills is not always by how many skills there are, but within how many things you can do with a specific skill. 4E is much more diverse in this regard and you also don’t have to spend skill points in silly things like crafting or profession anymore, which detracts from skills you would really want.

Skill challenges are a great 4E concpet which also open more viable options for RPing through encounters instead of combat. It also

4E Swiss Army Knife!

directly rewards good RP. It’s quite possible to have an entire adventure filled with skill challenges and still gain XP. This is definately a boon for the really hard core RP folks. But I’ll talk more on skill challenges another time.

I think the largest issue people have with 4E is that DM’s have not learned how to use it properly yet; and players haven’t either for that matter. My first DM had me hating 4E big time. In fact I wrote a scathing review. But then I decided to give it a second try and once I began to DM it, and then played with another DM, I radically changed my stance on 4E.


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