Monday, November 29, 2010

The Other Day...

Fred and I text each other a lot. Here is one such series:

Me: Did I receive a text yesterday indicating that Derf the Wizard has been slain?

Fred: So there we were. In the forest when we heard a growl that smelled of brimstone. (That's right, we heard the smell.)

Me: Oooo. Word picture time!

Fred: Surrounded by thirty hell hounds. Derf alone was going to save the day with his magic. (As the rest of the group relies heavily upon Derf.)

Me: Obviously.

Fred: Little did Derf know that the hell hound was a physical embodiment of Asmodeus the evil one.

Me: Oh snap!

Fred: The battle was vicious and long, it threatened to sunder the very fiber of the universe.

Fred: Alas Derf realized that he must sacrifice himself to save the universe. In the ultimate sacrifice he allowed himself to die to save the universe.

Me: Will Patrick Stewart be playing Derf in the movie?

Me: Or will it be Wil Wheaton?

Not Fred Or Me: Just stole Fred's phone. It was a surprise attack and Pat got him with in one roll. It was fantastic. Then I moved in and killed it in one move, cause I'm awesome.

Me: Glorious!

Fred: Yeah...That's pretty much what happened.

Friday, November 26, 2010

To Do List

There are some things I need to do. Here is a list of them, because I like lists and need to write things down. They're listed in order of importance.

Things I Need To Do
-Finish the Dogdamn Rebellion campaign arc. (Completed: 11/23/10)
-Clarify and write down all my house rules so everyone can finally know them all. (Completed: 1/17/11)
-Finish the first scenario of the next campaign and the newerish mechanics that go along with that. (Completed: 1/18/11)
-Make the list of traits more robust and easier to read. (Completed, More or Less: 1/17/11)
-Add more Flaws. (Completed: 11/18/10)
-Add more Hekinoe specific feats. (Completed, More Or Less: 1/22/11)
-Complete the campaign book.

Things I Want To Do
-Play Dark Sun (as a Thri-Kreen Ranger)
-Play Gamma World (as an Android Cockroach)
-Run a one-shot Shadow Chasers/Darkest Night Detective Agency adventure of my own devising using Gamma World.
-Play GURPS (as a Brain In A Jar, or as Reginald the Sentient Tumor)
-Run or play the 4th Edition Tomb of Horrors adventure as a one shot.
-Run Laura and my wife through the 4th Edition Red Box adventure.
-Look into alternate options for the wiki.

Edit After The Fact: You'll notice that some of these have a date of completion that occurred before this post was posted. This post is a few weeks old, and having it here is helping to inspire me to crack the whip at myself.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It Just Kind Of Happened...

So I just finished the last scenario of the Rebellion Campaign Arc. I feel...strange. This is the first time I've completed the written portion of a campaign, ever, and I've been a GM on and off for seventeen (I think) years now. We've really gone off the rails here and I'm kind of unsure of myself.

Now we just have to play the damn thing, four more scenarios left to play through.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Wish I Could Quit You...

...Dan Bellor. Oh wait, never mind, wrong blog. Hehe.

I love DnD. Probably too much. That is ok, because everyone has their own little obsessions. We're all obsessed with something that we find worth the effort and that obsession seems perfectly normal and right to us. Others tend to think we're bat shit crazy, but that is ok too, because we're all entitled to our opinions and whatnot.

I've spoken to my wife and Eric before, saying that I wish I could "quit" video games. Not because video games are for losers, but because I don't really like playing them. I like the stories that I'm told, or the visuals that go along with the button presses, or the quirky mechanics of some, but I don't like video games the way I like DnD. Never believe that this means I don't enjoy playing the games I do play, talk to me for five seconds about Fallout 3 or Disgaea and you'll know I love me some games.

The thing is though, video games and such are my band-aid for not playing as much DnD as I want to. I am the kind of gamer that wants to play DnD at least once a week for a couple of hours. I haven't had that kind of gaming lifestyle ever. So I play video games. Don't get me wrong, I've had fun with my Fables and Fallouts and Baldur's Gates and Planescape: Torment. Those are some fun times, but I'd much rather be playing a Planescape campaign or a Gamma World one shot, or building a campaign about the son of a god, or that sort of thing.

The other thing that comes to mind while pondering this subject is that spending one hundred and eighty hours on Disgaea means that I am not spending one hundred and eighty hours on DnD. I feel like my GMing style and skill are at a pretty good level of late, but would I be better if I had worked on scenarios instead of playing Mass Effect? Would my campaign information be more robust if I hadn't bought Feeding Frenzy and Feeding Frenzy 2 on Xbox Live arcade? Would I have all my traits and flaws and my campaign book done if I hadn't played The Pit and Mothership Zeta for Fallout 3?

...Yeah, they would.

I only really play video games that I know I'll enjoy, so I don't feel like my video game time is wasted time. I just feel like instead of spending fourteen hours on Fable 3 the other day, I could have finished the last few scenarios of this campaign. You know what I mean? There is a certain amount of guilt that goes along with fooling around on the 360 or Netflix instead of trying to flesh out my world. That guilt is a dangerous thing though, I don't want to punish myself. I don't deserve to be punished, I am a good and righteous GM with hit points and Charisma to spare.

I don't think I should focus all my free time on DnD, that is silly. There must be some moderation in my interests. Plus, I have a wife and friends and stuff and they're cool too. I do feel that maybe I can hold off on buying big name titles until a month or six have passed and they drop down a few bucks in price, it wouldn't be the end of the world. If I didn't buy every other arcade game that came out for the 360, that wouldn't exactly be the end of the world either.

I guess I'm not talking about "quitting" video games, but more about sort of altering the way in which I pursue video games. Although, I suspect I could probably never buy a video game again if I could play DnD on a weekly basis.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Secret Of My Success SORCERY!!1!

Lately I've been rereading the My Life In Gaming post (which is my favorite post on this blog so far, if a bit self-indulgent). That post often leads me to pondering a lot of things and this post and the one following it are based upon some things I've pondered.

Jeremy digs my campaign material, and Eric does as well. I guess ideally, the whole group digs my material (though I've not asked Fred or John how they feel about Hekinoe). At the very least, they don't complain about the product I am putting out. Eric and Jeremy seem to be fans of Hekinoe and seem to be impressed with the amount of background material I have presented to them, here on the blog and in the campaign itself. That's cool. I like having fans, so to speak. I'd prefer sycophants and cronies, but fans are cool I guess.

In my opinion, it is somewhat amusing that my "success" as a GM is a result of one of my flaws. When I was young, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Now, some people don't think ADHD is real or that adults can't still have it (others think that it is an evolutionary throwback to the hunters of the tribes). Regardless of your opinion on that issue, I get bored and distracted real fucking easy. Getting bored quickly with stuff and having a short ass attention span is why I dropped out of college, it is why I have twenty or so partially written stories, a like number of never run DnD campaigns, and also why I have such a robust background for my Hekinoe world.

Boredom is the secret of my success. Heh.

That seems somewhat counter-intuitive at first glance, but the more I think about it, the more it makes absolutely perfect sense. I have written the heck out of The Known World. There is quite a bit of content there, though there is plenty of room for more information to be added in. Normally I write and write and get bored as fuck in the middle of things and start poking at another campaign idea. Then I get angry because I'm playing something boring and I want to start on a new campaign.

What I'm doing this time around is filling this big fat world with a bunch of neat stuff. The Known World is not super ultra interesting to me. Facets of it are, but overall, it is old hat. I know what is in there and it holds no surprises for me. So as my attention wanders I begin fleshing out Fresgulen or Nethwenta or whatever random line of text I feel like throwing into the ZuluPad document. Then when I get bored with those things I can mosey on back to The Known World and add a few hundred words of text to something related to it into the ZuluPad thing.

It is kind of a haphazard, cyclical process, but it is working out a lot better than stopping mid-campaign and creating something new. It is also a lot more rewarding for me, and hopefully for the players, because now we kind of have something lasting that we can share.

So that is some info on how I keep this thing rolling along.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I didn't care for the tenth scenario. I made it because I needed to, not because I wanted to. Don't get me wrong, everything turned out well and we had fun. It is just that the scenario was one I made because I had to get the guys from point A to point B and couldn't hand wave it. The scenario was exactly what it needed to be, I just didn't feel any strong ties to it.

As I said, I had fun and it went well. I think the guys really compensated for the lack of depth to the scenario. It was a short session, but it was pretty thick with humorous party-centric shenanigans. There was some talk at the beginning regarding Gonigi and Nakmander and what the group planned to do about Gonigi hunting Nakmander and I think that was all fairly productive. Towards the end of the scenario, there was some talk that this was actually the time to flee if they so desired, and they did not.

I don't have too much to say about the scenario. I got to use the "You've got dysentery!" line, so that was something. Although, I probably did overplay the Oregon Trail influences. I enjoyed watching Jeremy squirm while D'alton expertly Bluffed the reavers into believing he was a warden, which ultimately served no purpose when John and Xein cobbled together their reaver bludgeoning lever. Regardless, he's getting better at the whole talking thing, but he still struggles with it. Keep on trucking little space monkey.

One thing we did that was pretty fun was Fred and Eric drew their spell effects on our battle mat. By the end of the battle, our mat was covered with crude renditions of maximized magic missiles, fireballs, and lightning breath. Cthulhu made an appearance was well. I dunno, it was silly, but fun. I think Fred and Eric enjoyed drawing the effects and it kind of made the battle a little more interactive or something along those lines.

Anyway, not my favorite scenario, but I think everything went alright.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ensorcelled Lewts 101

There is a decided lack of magic loot in my campaign, it has been that way since day one. Sorcery is an unreliable beast and binding it in an object is a poor decision, the longer it stays put, the longer it has time to degrade and grow more and more unstable. Eventually, the item just explodes in a blast of sorcerous fun. Unlike with spells, these disasters are pretty straightforward, the object is destroyed and the spell causes a sorcerous explosion. There is fire, noise, and a blast crater dependent upon the power of the spell. If the object is made out of steel, well, we've got shrapnel. Anyway, you get the idea.

Now, magic items do exist in this world, and the guys are literally in the Mecca of sorcery in my world, if they wander out into their district, they can come home with a bag full of useful stuff. They don't ever wander outside of their mansion though, so they have nothing. I'm not sure why, but kudos to them for their minimalist lifestyle. Technology is after all, safer...unless John's rifle explodes.

Does this unreliability mean that there isn't much diversity in magic items in my world? No. There are always nutjobs trying to build crazy deadly shit, and this extends to fantasy worlds penned upon the fabric of my grey matter. The unreliability also means that if you leave a magic sword in a cave, it will probably explode before players have a chance to loot it off the corpse they find it with. Back to the deadly shit, there are magic guns of wolf-iron that are fueled by sorcerous energy (you sacrifice a spell slot and that determines how many shots you have with the weapon). Others fire literal mind bullets (make a Psicraft check and fire the weapon as many times as you want as long as you maintain your psionic focus). There are potions that are basically an adrenaline shot for the sorcerous nature of Fell Humans and allow them to use their own sorcerous potential to power charged magical items. There are healing potions and bows that shoot lightning, and even bladed weapons that have bloodletting bits that are shaped edges of sorcerous force.

I suppose you can follow this thought to the next tier of loots, artifacts. We've established that there is a wide variety of magic in my campaign. Are there artifacts as well? I would say yes. Are they spoken of like The Sword of Kas and the Axe of Dwarvish Lords or the Hand of Vecna? No. You can't make a Streetwise check or Knowledge (Arcana) check and come up with a dozen rumored magical artifacts in my campaign world. If your characters spend six weeks in a library with tomes on sorcery available to them and expend a pile of marks following up on leads, you could probably come up with a name or three or an idea of what an artifact might be capable of. You could then go on a quest to a better library in some far off country like Vyanthnem or The Fallen Empire of Man, and try and track down further information.

Unlike 4th Edition, you can't wander into a cave as a first level character, and then wander back out with a few thousand gold pieces worth of magic items. Every back woods town does not have a resident sage dude that will speak of ancient rituals and artifacts and that cave over there that used to be part of an ancient temple that no one else has ever investigated in the past thousand years so all the magic loot is still waiting to be picked up by adventurers. Long sentence, I know. You'll be fine.

I guess I'm saying that if The Robust Five (More Or Less) decide that they need to amp up their situation with magic weapons, and decide to take the initiative in the matter, they could get their hands on a magic arsenal and are in the prime location to do so. Although, I suppose with only four scenarios left in the campaign, it is a little late to be running off on wild goose chases for unreliable artifacts.

Another question comes to mind. Do artifacts act up and explode? Hmm. I'll just hand wave it and say they're made out of star metal or some shit.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Xein Mac'fumos

Xein Mac'fumos
Race: Human of Fell Human Descent
Class: Alchemist

Xein Mac'fumos was born to a poor woman in Kusseth who did what she could to make ends meet. She thieved and whored herself for only a few gold a day, just to make sure she had a roof over her head and food in her stomach. In her early twenties she was with a Fell Human "client" who became violent, beating her relentlessly. She quit prostitution and started thieving heavily, targeting Fell Human males, most of which suffered some sort of disfigurement or another during her attacks. It was two months after the abuse when it became apparent that she was with child. With a mouth to feed on the way, she decided to break into a local mechanic shop owned by an Abraxen to steal what money she could to support the birth of her child and hopefully support them for a few years on one night’s earnings. This was not to happen. She was caught by an alarm and captured inside the building, all the doors locked from the inside, trapping her in.

She was taken by the wardens and as per certain regulations and the fact that the Abraxen knew the local senior warden, and was able to buy her as a slave. He told her that she was very talented at thieving and didn’t trip any of the alarms on the way in, he asked her how she did it and she elaborated that the designs could have been better, showing him while explaining. She asked about possibility of freedom due to being pregnant. He refused, saying it was punishment for trying to steal from him, but he did agree that the child would be born free and explained that they would have a better life under his roof anyway, also stating that he would educate the child in his shop if the he showed the same aptitude that his mother did for technology and its workings.

He was raised by his mother and the Abraxen, both teaching what they knew. Once old enough to work for an engineering firm he was constantly teased about his mother being a former whore and the fact that he was living with the Abraxen. Anytime anyone said anything about his mother’s former occupation, his anger would flare from his heritage and he would get into a physical fight, most of which he lost. But in the work gangs he was also noticed to be one of the smartest by his employers and not really delegated heavy lifting or laborious activities, but generally consulted on designs. (Secretly this was because he was living with an Abraxen and they figured the young one would have some insight to Abraxen technology) This further alienated him against the others in his gang.

In a few short years of this, he was eventually hired as an engineer consultant and field-tester for equipment. He did this for a good four years when (as one of their top testers) they gave him a particularly expensive steam powered backpack designed to assist in repairs and other various tasks. He had advised them on some simple design modifications for structural integrity. One of the senior engineers called him out on it and told him that he was strictly testing this one, not an advisor like previous projects. Dejected, Xien decided to just do his job and finish field-testing it. While working on a steam-wagon, the pack started to cough and sputter, finally just giving out. He looked at it and assessed the damage, seeing that he couldn't repair the pack, he took it back to the firm and they were outraged. It was beyond anyone's ability to repair. The senior engineer was furious, and started to insult Mac, when the engineer called his mother a whore, Mac threw a devastating punch and knocked the man out cold. When he came to he called for the local warden and told him a lie about Mac stealing the pack. He was beaten and then thrown in jail for assault and thievery.

Friday, November 5, 2010



Race: Human of Elduman Descent

Class: Fighter/Sorcerer/Eldritch Knight

Born in the New Empire city of Belnor, son of an advisor to King Rudolph II. Raised in wealth and influence. Being the second born son it was his place to become a witch hunter, in the New Empire the first born becomes a successor to the advisor. Sent into training to be a witch hunter but during third year of training an accident occurred. During sparring (something happened) caused a sudden explosion of green flame that consumed his partner and all that was left was ash. Partially consumed Derf leaving extensive scarring/burns covering left side of body. Trainers (witch hunters) immediately set upon Derf to kill him but there was another flash of green light and Derf was no longer there. He awoke to find himself in a strange location (Necropolis) horribly scarred and alone. He was a slave to Necropolis for years (due to being from the New Empire) eventually sold with slaves to the Fell Peaks. Escaped from Fell Peaks but was caught breaking the law (possibly stealing) (or possibly because the wardens believed he was a fell human due to the scarring) in Kusseth and was placed in jail where he met with the current group of adventurers. Witch hunters still hunt for him but were unable to reach him because he was in the Necropolis and then the Fell Peaks, but now that he is free and in the lands of man.

Monday, November 1, 2010

D'alton Braun

D'alton Braun
Race: Fell Human Descended Human
Class Rogue/Shadowdancer

D’alton Braun was born in 9963 DK in the Fell Peaks, the bastard son of Way’de Braun, and El’lyn, the wife of Way’de’s brother, Pat’ryk. The Braun family dealt in arms, selling to the highest bidder, on both sides of the war. Way’de and El’lyn were killed in a deal gone badly shortly after D’alton’s birth. D’alton’s uncle reluctantly took him in and raised the boy.

Young D’alton, not having much in the way of parental love or concern, turned to running with a youth gang, the Vanbur’yen Boys. Being a small child, he was known to the members of the gang as Mole, as he could get into tight spaces and vents, making break-ins all the easier. He learned everything he needed to know about thievery, blackmail, and second story work by the time he was fifteen years old.

When D’alton was twenty-four, he fell for a girl named Ko’serra, sister of his gang’s leader. At the same time, his uncle pulled him out of the gang, as he was set to retire. It was now time for D’alton, as the last Braun male, to take his place in running the family business. His uncle told him the story of his parents’ deaths, and forbade him from seeing Ko’serra. D’alton said he didn’t feel it was right for an interest to suddenly be taken in him, after years of neglect; he told his uncle he wanted no part in the business. Pat’ryk threw D’alton out of the house, and cut him off financially.

D’alton, now destitute, plotted to rob the largest bank in the district, and get out of Hell to start fresh. He was caught mid-robbery, and taken to the Beltan Prison Camp.

Eight years later, D’alton was part of a large prison break, and began adventuring with a few of them. Calling themselves The Robust Five (More or Less), they avoided the law, and occasionally aided it along the way. D’alton became fast friends with Spineplate, and finally found something akin to what he’d always wanted: family.