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regarding detect magic and illusions...Read more... )

D&D druids

May. 11th, 2007 05:37 pm
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3.5e geeking... Read more... )
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Because no one who doesn't play d20 rules could possibly care about the mechanics of attached stirges...Read more... )

Ptolus!

Jan. 9th, 2007 01:39 pm
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Santa was good to me this year. I'm up to page 75 (out of 700), and this is indeed a gaming product beyond any other.

S'a shame I'm already about 70% of the way through the Banewarrens and that I placed it in Faerun -- though I could of course go the whole way, completely replace Tantras with Ptolus, replace the Vast with the empire described in the sourcebook, and modify Faerun such that it fits the cosmology.

But the current campaign has other plans after the Banewarrens, anyway. And it seems like the Warrens would fit well as the midpoint of a Ptolus campaign, one where you built up to it through city adventures, a few pokes into the dungeons, and other Ptolus modules, and make it part of a continuing storyline that leads to more dangerous and deep places there, and finally into the world's cosmology.

In short, if I want to run Ptolus, I should have first-level characters start in Ptolus.

Besides, as Cook himself notes in the chapter on running campaigns in Ptolus, the most obvious thing to do is to rip off Brust and run a Jhereg-like organization on the Ptolus streets. I'd need players interested in that.

Maybe I could revisit the idea of running something on Wednesdays or Thursdays again. Or occasional weekends. Though the gamers we've seduced into occasional runs to Roseville are already probably coming out here as much as they could stand to. And most other gamers I know in the bay area are either insanely busy with their own kids or eschew d20.

Maybe I could find shiny new gamers out here - though, really, when would I find the time?

arrgh. Not enough hours in a day? Not enough years in a life.
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Dragon - fighter
Lyorn - paladin
Tiassa - swashbuckler
Hawk - sorcerer
Dzur - barbarian
Issola - bard
Tsalmoth - warrior
Vallista - expert
Jhereg - assassin
Iorich - druid
Chreotha - ranger
Yendi - rogue
Orca - monk
Teckla - commoner
Jhegaala - spirit shaman
Athyra - wizard
Phoenix - cleric

Some of these are obviously based on a single personality or single quality; some of them are reaching a lot (orcas as monks?).
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Clerics are considered overpowered, especially since each book of additional spells gives all of them to clerics/druids automatically (and thus increases their flexibility for free relative to everyone else). How does one address this?

Either nerf the cleric or enhance everybody else. One way to do each...Read more... )
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On the uselessness of gaseous form.Read more... )
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It occurs to me that I would like to experience more of D&D 3.5e as a player instead of only gamemastering. I don't know how I'd accomplish that, unless someone were to volunteer to run something on Wednesday evenings.
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Well. I've finished Tantras, of the Forgotten Realms Avatar Trilogy. (Useful to read, as it gives important background to the city I've placed my Banewarrens campaign in.)

I have long since gotten over the hubris and arrogance of reading a mediocre novel and saying "I could write better than this", since I have quite a bit more appreciation for even journeyman skill at novelization, having begun a novel some time ago and found that it's much harder than it once seemed.

Tantras is written by Alan Smithee. Okay, not really "Alan Smithee", but it's written by a pseudonym that, as it turns out, stands for a committee of professional game designers. I can see why no actual human wanted to put his name to it.

Not only could I write this novel better than they did, the rough draft I would submit for review and edit would be better than their finished product.

If you have the misfortune to read this novel, I suggest the following drinking game. I don't drink, but I think the novel would have benefitted if I had.

1. Take a drink whenever a character responds with an emotion (typically sudden anger) that does not even remotely follow from the conversation.

2. Take a drink every time a normal author would have used a profession, descriptive term, or other variant label to refer to a character (e.g. "woman", "hero", "quick-thinking adventurer", "adjectived protagonist"), and this author instead used the character's D&D class (thief, mage, fighter, cleric).

3. Take a drink every time the adverb used to describe a character's act of speaking is "flatly".

In any case, following those three rules you will be falling-down drunk after reading any given chapter.

If you're teetotaling, you can reverse rule #2, and take a drink every time a descriptive term other than character class is used. Your glass will be untouched when you finish the novel. (Exception. Elminster is referred to as both a 'mage' and a 'sage'. But he never speaks -- he 'grumbles' all his lines.)

I am at a loss even to speculate why "flatly" was the favorite adverb of the parties guilty of this work. Self-deprecating ironic commentary, perhaps, on the quality of the characterization? I do not exaggerate when I say the word appears on at least every other page.
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hidden behind a tag that says Read more... )
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I've known for a while there's a problem with publishing RPG adventure modules for a popular game -- you expect to sell only a small fraction of the amount you sell of the game, because (a) it won't appeal to all gamers, and (b) out of a group of gamers, each of whom has your core rulebooks, at best only one of them will buy the adventure.

Which is why we get settingbooks and sourcebooks and rule adjuncts, but (relatively) few high-quality modules. (The attempts by AEG to write small twelve-half-page $2.99 adventures being a welcome exception -- but you can't build a campaign around one or even several of those.)

But I'm realizing there's another market flaw to these adventures: compared with the 1990s and earlier, they have a much reduced shelflife, because you simply can't keep their contents private anymore.

I'm going to run the Banewarrens, and would like to run City of the Spider Queen afterwards if the players want to continue their characters. But just poking around the net, I find a minimum of a half dozen players-view writeups of the entire CotSQ. Presumably I can ask my players not to read them, but it's not a reasonable thing to run if they already have. (Jason may have already read a Banewarrens writeup a few years ago, but says he remembers little, and it can hopefully be variant enough in my running that very little useful info remains.)

Guess it means that when a module does come out, buy it and run it quick, before players innocently and accidentally read writeups online. Information wants to be free -- publishing stuff that you want kept secret is, well, difficult.
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There are 100 prestige classes in the four 3.5 hardback splatbooks. Just sayin'.
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With Chris's car dead and Champions on indefinite hiatus, we've done a bit of D&D (Little Women in Freeport, held up for the holidays but almost done) and I have been announcing plans for like the last two months to run Monte Cook's Banewarrens next (but not for LW). Jason and Wendy and Sherilyn have made characters -- two 5th level characters each, everyone has two dissimilar classes, all six nonevil alignments and five different races represented.

But anyway, I've had about $200 worth of Faerun stuff sitting on my shelf for several years now and never touched it.

So since the holidays I've pulled out two of the books and looked at some of it. Not bad. It's no Glorantha, but it's a mature world with some amount of intelligence in its design. Some sense of place and variety, and (importantly) it's a setting that plays to the strengths of D&D -- i.e. don't try to vary too much from the high-fantasy, medieval feudal concept, make sure there's an absurd number of threats for your absurd number of high-level bored adventurers to work with. Of course it's munchkinesque, but D&D as a whole is.

Faerun, in short, could be a fun place to visit.

So I'm tentatively planning to shoehorn Ptolus into Faerun somewhere, so my PCs (and I) can have a world around the city, and possibly someplace else for the characters to go when the Banewarrens are done. Those who are interested can... Read more... )
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I find myself completely unable to resist temptation. From my list of pirate gaming bling I have ordered Broadsides! direct from the manufacturer (since the game shop said it was no longer obtainable) and have told A-1 to order me the Seafarer's Handbook and Seas of Blood.

So there will be piratey d20 gaming in my future, I think. (It'd be nice if my champions gamers all showed up occasionally, though, and drove such speculations into the indefinite future.) More later on what it takes to do real pirate gaming -- I think one needs to ban certain spells, or adventures involving shipping/sailing/pirating become a bit problematic, at least for PCs (fireball, fly, teleport). I find myself looking longingly at Black Company d20... but I want PC spellcasters. I just don't want the kinds of spells that make the game un-piratey.
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So the idea of examining what things are available for a d20 pirate campaign has been buzzing around in the back of my head (not that Champions isn't going fine or anything, just we're having a little trouble getting Chris Belfey to replace his clutch and come visit again).

So I have these products:
4 Freeport modules (not really piratey, per se, but adventures in a pirate town)
Pirates! by Living Imagination
Dead Man's Chest by Necromancer Games

And I hear the best pirate supplements are:
Broadsides! by Living Imagination
Seafarer's Handbook by Fantasy Flight Games
Seas of Blood by Mongoose
Freeport (which appears to be out of stock) by Green Ronin

and I find (without reviews)
Black Flag by Avalanche (which seems, like most of their cheesecake covers, to be so out of stock that it's not even findable on their website)

and, recently-released, apparently, a pirate campaign setting:
Twin Crowns by Living Imagination

so... there's a fair bit out there. Maybe I want some of it, but I should think about this. And I think I need a new laptop more, right now.

Gaming

Oct. 10th, 2005 03:07 pm
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Only Jason&Wendy showed up, so we played a pickup D&D game. Got about 2/3 of the way through the 'Death in Freeport' intro module.

I told people they shouldn't make the same class as their characters from my earlier campaign, and they mostly complied. Also, since there were only three of them, I had them make 3rd level characters to reduce the frequency of instadeath. After some back-and-forth, Sherilyn made a gnome bard, Wendy a dwarven barbarian, and Jason made a halfling rogue/cleric, and all of them were female.

A gnome, a halfling, and a dwarf. All female.

Their names? Emigh (pronounced 'Amy'), Beth, and Meg, of course (since there was no proper leader-type to take the name of Jo).

short spoilers/review about the module...Read more... )
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Gaming geeks only. A bit about how CL can be applied to metaphysics.Read more... )

D&D rulings

Jan. 9th, 2005 02:25 pm
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So a trio of D&D (3E, not 3.5E) questions came up in last night's session.

1. Can you use Haste to double the effectiveness of Time Stop? I.e. can you Haste yourself, then Time Stop, and get extra partial actions for each round of private time? I ruled no, basing this on the argument that (a) the two spells do the same effect, just one of them more so, so the larger one overrides the smaller, like with two bonuses of different type, and (b) it is like unto following the road of brick that is yellow. They whined.

2. Is a Wish still a one-action casting time if the spell it's being used to duplicate has a longer casting time? I ruled yes based on the fact that its casting time says "1 action" instead of "see below". They were cheered, of course, but dubious.

3. With the "base" behavior of Wish and Miracle, using them to duplicate spell effects, can they duplicate spell effects after modification by feats? The specific use was to use Miracle to call an Energy Substitutioned Chain Lightning (changing electricity to sonic). I ruled yes -- Wish and Miracle are mundane enough as it is. They were enthusiastic.

Anybody think that ruling #1 unfairly penalizes? Anyone think #2 or #3 opens the door to massive abuse?
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A D&D 3.5e problem with the tower shield. Warning, game geekage ahead...

Read more... )

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