Posts Tagged ‘dnd’

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The Vermin Handler

June 20, 2008

See, stuff like this is why I absolutely love Fourth Edition. This is a stat block for a new kobold released today in a new Dragon Magazine article. It’s called the “Vermin Handler.”

I just love this schtick! You can see him using that Vermin Cage ability clear as day. He sort of scuttles to the side of a battle, picks out the most heavily armed fighter, and chucks his box of bugs right at the melee guy’s head! Bugs and wood go flying and the poor bastard with the sword has to swat and swear at his armor until he kills most of them off. Brilliant.

Of course, my players aren’t facing down this guy. I’ve got a couple of much nastier tricks up my sleeve. Hee! I’m still not one of those GMs that thinks its his job to kill the PCs, but I can’t help but cackle with glee that finally – FINALLY – I’ve got some toys of my own to play with.

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Behind the Screen

June 17, 2008

I fear you’re going to have to bear with some interminable D&D-related discussion over the next several months. I’m once again at the head of the table, doing my game master thing for a group of unlucky players. This time around, it’s the fourth edition of Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons, and I’m almost speechless with excitement. I’ve been waiting to do this for the better part of a year, and now that the hour is at hand I find myself a little taken aback by the game’s promise.

Sunday myself and a group of friends sat down to get characters created. A good time was had by all relaxing and enjoying the company of fellow gamers. The party is Katie, Erich, Jeff, Ben, and Jeff’s friend Matt, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting only a few times before. It’s always interesting gaming with someone new, but in a way that’s sort of the point. Getting to try out old tricks on new people, seeing new ways of dealing with the usual encounters … it’s all awesome.

I’ve recently realized that if my experience playing tabletop RPGs was a person, they’d be able to vote. My first system was TMNT & Other Strangeness, and my first player was my aunt. That was actually my first gaming experience ever, being the GM. Very foreshadowy. My first experience as a player was as a short-lived mutant weasel. That was a sad night in New York City’s harbor.

Now during the week I’m finding it ever-so-enjoyable to work out encounters and plot for the game. It’s mostly been me noodling story concepts, actually, because coming up with actual encounters is really, really easy. The new rules are so easy that I would feel comfortable completely winging a session, if I were inclined to do so. Sometime down the road I may even do that (without telling the players) just to see what it’s like.

For thiscoming Sunday, I’m setting the stage for all of what’s to come – hopefully, an interesting but not driving plotline peppered with unique combat encounters. This time it’s all coming out of my brain, no safety net. Not even a real campaign setting, just the ‘points of light’ pastiche they give you in the main books and the preview tomes.

Should be fun.

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Last Week’s Writing

June 9, 2008

Brian recently asked that I start doing a weekly wrapup of stuff that I’m particularly proud of. I don’t think that’s a terribly bad idea. Here’s the update for today through last week:

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Anctici … pation

June 3, 2008

To say that I’m looking forward to Friday would be a gross understatement. At the end of the week the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons is set to be released, a big marker in my 18 years of playing tabletop roleplaying games. Fourth edition, or 4E, is a big deal(tm) to tabletop nerds for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s easy. It’s by far the most simple rulesset that the game has ever had.
  • It’s fun. These simple rules are very focused on the combat elements of the game, and bring to life stale game elements that have bogged down previous editions.
  • It’s fast. Playtime has been significantly cut down. I know it seems odd for a non-tabletop gamer to envision, but with previous rules events that took place in a matter of minutes inside the game world could take hours to adjudicate in real life.
  • It’s online. There’s an entire online component to the game that I find alternately fascinating and frustrating. My hope is to be able to play a game via this system sometime soon.
  • Most of all, it’s clean. I’ve spent the last four-odd years mulling the design decisions of MMO devlopers, which has given me an appreciation of game design in general I didn’t have those 18-odd years ago. The way these new systems interlock, the care they’ve given to making simple rules fun and flavourful … oh yeah.

I’m almost done with Cryptonomicon, and despite the staggering amount of work I’m doing this week I’m going to try to finish up before Friday. I really want to crack into those books without wrecking my (still chugging) Kindle-based reading initiative.