Posts Tagged ‘Gaming’

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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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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I just posted up the Fourthcore Dungeon Masters Guide v1 – (PDF document) on my Fourthcore page which is where that stuff will live from now on. This guide is basically a guideline for DM’s to help them understand the balance between design and 4C challenge. Lethality is obviously a part of the challenge but it’s something which must be tempered properly. In my time writing modules and designing traps it’s always been the biggest complement when a crushed player says “I should have know better”. To which I usually say “yeah, you should have”.

On the other hand chance has to have a reasonable chance for success and failure based upon the stakes, and the 4C DM guide speaks to that balance as well. I also cover things like riddles and puzzles as well as time limits and character death/respawning. So check it out, and by all means if there is something to add let me know. This is your game too after all.

I do plan to update the guides as good ideas and information roll in. So consider them evolving and ongoing. I’ll make sure to post when I update them.

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So, with the death (not literally) of a creator, there is a big hole to fill. I’m not saying I’m trying to fill the shoes, but dammit, I’ve got moxy! Besides, I’ve done this stuff for a while and 4C has got a fire buring in the Maestro’s belly. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, so I’m throwing it up to the wall, and seeing what sticks.

I’ve created a Fourthcore page on this blog for my Fourthcore created content, and yes I will be creating content. My first offering is simply some base guidelines for Fourthcore character generation. As I explain in the guide, it’s not about forcing anyone to do anything. But instead it’s about having a baseline that people can recognize as a starting point. In truth most of the content is taken from guidelines laid out by previous 4C modules, so this isn’t anything startlingly new.

What I think would be cool, is that if people recognize guidelines it allows content to be generated in balance to the characters & vice versa. (characters are generated in balance to the content) Which means less tweaking between players who share modules and dungeons. So if bob in Australia writes a 4C module based on “guidelines” then Joe in Texas doesn’t have to tweak his players characters. Make sense? This makes playability easier for the largest spectrum of players. As always DM’s can tweak to their heart’s content. It’s your game after all, I just prefer less tweaking, and more killing.

So that being said, here is the: Fourthcore Character Generation Guide v1 – (PDF document)

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Recently I was asked by my friend, the Id DM, to host a Fourthcore game. He was asked to play test one of the new scenario’s from the fellas over at Save Versus Death, who spearheaded (past tense – see comments) the fourthcore movement. So I polished up the Ultimate Gaming Table, served up the bev’s, J. brought the Pizza, and we gave fourthcore a whirl!

What is fourthcore?(short for Fourth Edition / Hardcore) Simply put its tournament style D&D, mixed with increased lethality. This isn’t to say you are going to die, but it’s to say that messing up has harsh consequences. In my many years of gaming I’ve played tournament modules and DM’d them. They are always a challenge because it seems as everything you do, has some relevance; and the things you don’t do, have some relevance as well. The same can be said for some of the most lethal modules every built by Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve had the pleasure to DM many, such as the Labyrinth of Madness, Tomb of Horrors, & the Dancing Hut of Babba Yagga to name just a few. Each one is a punishing module of tricks, traps, puzzles, and monsters. (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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