Feb 27, 2009

I like this meme...10 monsters that are welcome to eat my players.

I've noticed this little meme making the rounds, and I LIKE it! As such, I'll desecrate it in my own little way, as I have few actual favorite monsters...more types of monsters that my players have had opportunity to learn all about.

Pity my poor players...Someone needs to : )

  1. Anything with ooze, slime, or jelly as part of it's name. Nothing says lovin like animate stomach acid :)

  2. Bandits pretending to be peasants. That is, until they have the party RIGHT where they want them!

  3. Dragons. Cliched? yes. But you'd never tell from the sound of all that urine dripping to the ground!

  4. Aberrations. Not any particular one...just anything lacking bilateral symmetry (or not), and possessing tentacles - the more the merrier.

  5. Incorporeal undead. Nothing says F*ck you to a party like a swarm of wraiths :)

  6. Giants. Once again, none in particular - but reach + bazillions of hp + a can't miss to hit bonus = the stink of fear.

  7. Otyughs...because tentacles and reach combined with living in a pool of shit is just made for a DM like me : ) (and the shiny paladins that always enter my games).

  8. Anything with class levels. Because it makes the rules lawyers soil themselves!

  9. Ropers. A poetic punishment for all those that thought strength was for meatheads.

  10. Kyuss worms. Dude, these even creep ME out.

And just because I can...

Feb 26, 2009

A tale from the olden days of yore...

What in the hell is yore anyway?

I was originally going to wrap up the open question I posed last week, but noticed that it was pointless. Gamer elitism is not something one, or a thousand blog posts can counteract. EVERYONE has a different idea of what gaming is, with very little venn love carried over. Add natural internet ass-hattery, and a dash of nerd rage, and you have a REALLY shitty cake, that everyone blames the other for making...yeah, dat is teh suxxorz for me too.

As such, I am going to do my little part to heal the rifts (so to speak). There will never be another anti 3E, PFRPG, or any edition specific rant or anecdote on this blog again.

This doesn't mean I will be edition neutral, just that I have my preference, and see no further need for knee-jerk BS like is STILL going on. I've grown up, and moved on.

Anyhoo, I wanted to share a story from my olden days of gaming. A long time ago (1993) in a far away place (Sioux Falls, SD) I was learning all about this nifty D&D thing with the help of the best gosh darned DM I have ever shared space with.

We were playing a homebrew game that has (and I think will continue to) put all other homebrew campaigns to shame. My character, a Demon worshipping elf F/M/C (guess which edition!) started off the campaign on the right foot by rolling 00 on my commune check and summoning my unholy patron HERSELF to answer a silly little question...yeah, that was lame. She cut off my legs, and turned me into a freaking midget hordeling! If memory serves, I smelled like shit, had tentacles, and could belch stinking clouds at will!

Moving on from there, we got involved in a temporal war between our current pantheon of gods, and their as of yet unborn children from he future who were trying to prevent a terrible catastrophy - The death of the new goddess of life and healing!

Needless to say, we spent months exploring, researching, and killing stuff (for it's stuff no less) before we finally found a way to reach the future date of the birth...only to face betrayal! One of our party members was the one who had come to assassinate the as of yet un-annointed babe!

All hell broke loose, as the rogue party member (played with glee!) and the rest of the party tussled and fought, all the while, the gods in attendance are seriously freaking out due to the god killing artifact in their presence.

I'll never forget till the day I die what happened next. My character had sat the fight out. I wasn't in on the plot (and was a little miffed about that!) and my goody-good party members didn't trust me, so I really didn't have a side to fight on...until the Krish-Naat flew from the rogues hands to land at my feet.

All eyes turned to me...the most rookie player in the group.

"C'mon buddy! (says the rogue) give it to your pal enoch, I'll cut you in on the reward."

"No! Give it to us (sayeth the goodies-goods) We'll help you walk down the path of light!"

The goddess of life promised to give me my old body back...
The god of war offered me might and prowess like no other living...
The god of this offered me that...you get the idea.

But I still couldn't make up my mind.

Now I know for a fact the DM pulled this out of his ass, so please pay attention, as this should be a class offered in college - RPG theory.

My dark goddess rises from a fissure in the ground, hellfire scattering the assembled onlookers. She looks around before glaring at me!

"FOOL! Give me that object, or I will cut your OTHER leg off!!"

"But you already cut them off!" I bleated back. With a fanged grin she used a wickedly sharp claw to indicate the "leg" she intended to lop off...

After hesitating for the last 45 minutes of real world game time, my choice was suddenly crystal clear...I killed the bitch :)

There was only one artifact, and it was consumed in it's useage. End of story!

The character retired after that game, as playing a hordeling sucked. But I'll never forget how I got my rookie moment, and saved the entire campaign...all with a 3' tall Neutral Evil tentacled shit belcher.

Game well, all of you :P

Feb 19, 2009

A short question, but by no means easy...

So even now, several months into the lifecycle of the Dungeons and Dragons adventure game (4th edition) we still have a fundamental disconnect.

WE being the gaming community at large. I was originally going to RANT RANT RANT,
But that is unneccesary at this time.

Instead, I have a question. An open call, if you will. Can somebody PLEASE define role-playing? Somebody will be a wise-ass and link the wiki stub, so I'll just get it out of the way.


Specifically, I'd like to know how or why one game would have it in any more or less abundance than any other. You folks are incredibly bright, but you bicker over minor details WAAAAAAAAY too much.

Step up to the podium. I'd like to know what YOU define as role-playing. If you'd rather lurk, that's fine, but your opinion might just actually matter here, so I encourage you to comment. Otherwise you are either lazy or a pussy :-)

SOUND OFF or write a blog post of your own. I'll be watching.

Feb 13, 2009

Deafened by the thunderous sound of crickets :)

While hard to believe, over 600 people have visited my humble blog in the last week, and despite the question at the end, not a single peep...I hope the guilt follows you through the end of your days!

All kidding aside (and I was indeed kidding, except of the 600 people part...and the no comment part...ah hell, and the guilt part too!) It's Friday. My boss is gone. His boss is gone. My co-worker/junior supervisor is gone...It's REALLY quiet here. Therefore, nobody will look at me funny as I cast TASHAS UNCONTROLLABLE HIDEOUS FRIDAY FUNNIES!! MWAHHAHAHAHA!

With that out of the way :)
My plan for the future is to continue doing what I enjoy, namely developing my own brand of hybrid combat skill challenges, and making monsters. These will be in conjunction with the continuing development of my Lightless Depths project.
The project itself continues apace. I am 80% done with the first chapter, and am having issues with the formatting (I hate doing it, so it is going SLOOOOOOW) lol. I plan on releasing a free .PDF of the first chapter to anyone who wants a copy, and we'll see where it goes.
Also, I REALLY don't wish guilt on any of you. I write here for me - not you :) Well, except for when I post funnies...those are definitely for you :)
With my Pathfinder game unfortunately ending, the playtest of my current campaign will be greatly accellerated, so stay tuned for more after-action reports. Until then, thanks for stopping by my little speck on the Intarwebs!

Feb 6, 2009

Playtest: There's a RITE way, and a wrong way

Goodness, how the time flies. It is Friday, and I will post fom my sickbed so that my excellent sextet of followers can receive their weekly marching orders.

Last week, I posted a skill challenge that I had planned to spring on my players. They had just defeated the mighty Mindripper, and were now faced with a summoning ritual gone horribly wrong.

While the first great beast had been defeated, now they were being swarmed by smaller versions of the same. This battle really put 4E through it's paces. With only one arcane character in the group, it was essential that he be protected from harm. Things started out simply enough, monsters materializing in the rift squares each round.

One thing they didn't really think about until it happened was that THEY COME THROUGH EVERY ROUND! Soon the room was filled with these critters, and the panic started setting in. About midway through, they were cornered around the ritual circle, trapped behind a wall of semi-translucent bluish proto-flesh from the far realm.

They did succeed. 12 successes and 4 failures. It worked out nicely :)

Afterwards, we talked a little about how things went, and I opened the book to the chapter on skill challenges in general. Tell you the truth, as written, they sound REALLY lame. In fact, it was queried after the game if it was possible to make ALL combats like this.

I've been pondering. And tinkering. And screwing around with it. I have to say no. Not only is it a lot of work to integrate into EVERY combat encounter, but SC's only work in the context of accomplishing a goal IN ADDITION to victory.

In this particular case, the enemies were literally never ending. There was no victory without unraveling the ritual. This brings a few thoughts to mind:

  1. These scenarios are very similar to rewards. Great risk = Great rewards.
  2. There must be a DEFINITE penalty for failure. In this case, failure would have brought another Lvl.8 solo controller through the rift IN ADDITION to the endless swarm of other creatures. This could easily have become a TPK or at best a total rout in their weakened condition.
  3. Be VERY careful not to hit the party too hard right on the heels of another encounter. I allowed them a "short rest" between to get their encounters back. If I hadn't, it would have ended badly.
  4. The riftspawn were needlessly complicated. Lose the enveloping ability, as well as the merge ability. It was useless and just wasted time.
  5. The sliding as part of a standard attack was AWESOME! and really helped keep the party on it's toes.

If I had the ability to do it over again, the only change I would make would be to make the room larger. The tactical aspect of the encounter was phenominal, and we got to see some pretty impressive fireworks!

My goal is to try and do this again (a hybrid skill challenge of sorts) every 5th encounter or so. Next up? I'm not sure. It is my suspicion that they are going to trace the path of the Dawnbringers before they were obliterated by the destruction of the Necromancer Shkrem.

Is there any nascent ideas you, my readers would like to see given the "TPK" treatment? Sound off, and the best skeleton will be fleshed next week.