Thursday, October 21, 2010

weird layouts

I'm experimenting with new themes and customization right now, so please bear with me as sometimes things don't look 100%. It'll be back to normal soon.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Legend of Drakukula

With Halloween just around the corner it's a perfect time to play a themed dungeon. I've always enjoyed theme dungeons. They are usually short and sweet and tend to be really silly. Tongue and cheek is a good way to lighten up a serious campaign.

I've been working on this dungeon for awhile now and I don't want to give it all away before I run my players through it, as some of them read this blog. But here is the adventure hook section of the dungeon. Just to give you all a bit of a teaser.

Adventure Hook
I love a party
Major Quest (500 XP)

The adventurers are a band of ragtag troublemakers who enjoy crashing high end parties for the food and the gossip. They heard about the party through the grapevine and couldn’t resist attending. The adventurers attend this party without adventuring gear, including armor and weapons.

A party isn’t a party until someone crashes it. You and your friends have become known throughout the city as the most notorious crashers of the elite soirees. After bribing a doorman and sneaking through the kitchen, you stroll into Lord Samdean Winchester’s grand ballroom, dressed in your best formal attire and ready for a night of drinking, dancing, and if luck is with you, creating more than one sordid social faux pas for the gentry to gossip about.

The Historian
Major Quest (500 XP)
Researchers at the local university, the adventurers learned that a rare book about vampires resides within the library of Lord Winchester. They convince Lord Winchester to let them look at it, but he insists that they attend his party first. Little do they know that they won't need the book.

The affair may not be your cup of tea, but there is no denying that Lord Samdean Winchester throws a spectacular gala. Rumors reached you and your colleagues that Lord Winchester possessed the journal of one of the vampires of legend: Drakukula. Little is known about this vampire save that he has a penchant for blond women and he idolized Count Straud of Ravenloft when he was alive. Access to his journal would be the scholarly discovery of a lifetime. If you have to sit through a party to get to the book, then so be it.

Good Ole Tavern
Minor Quest (300 XP)

Sometimes the way in is just to have the shady guy at the bar let you in. It's not as creative, but it certainly gets the job done. If the characters don't fit into a set of backgrounds that would allow them to do the above hooks, this one is good for all ages.

Dusty taverns are always good places to seek out adventure. You and your companions are enjoying a drink and a game of Three Dragon Ante while waiting for the opportunity to go kill some monsters when a hooded figure sits at the table with you. "You look like stalwart adventurers." The hooded man says. "I have an adventure for you. Take these party invitations and be at the mansion of Lord Samdean Winchester tonight. There's going to be a show that you won't want to miss." Without waiting for explanation, he stands to leave. "Oh," he says as he walks away, "dress nice".

More of the adventure to come...

Until next time...

Monday, October 18, 2010

I said the 20th of September....

...not the 20th of October. I'm a bastard it's true. But then I am still new to this whole blogging world and being able to focus on this task. Don't take my absence as a lack of interest, because I love talking about D&D. The move just took a lot longer than I thought to get me settled in.

So without further ado, I give you...a chat about D&D stereotypes.

Recently I've been looking into opening my own game store. You know the kind, because many of you (myself included) spent years inside one. These are the kind of stores that have Magic The Gathering cards, various board games, D&D books, as well as dice, Mountain Dew, candy, fold out tables and an odd smell that usually belonged to the guy in the sweatpants.

Many of us felt at home in these places. Not just because they reminding us of our basement hide-a-way (or the one we wish we had for those like myself who never had a basement), but because this was a place where we didn't have to care about anything else that everyone else cared about. We could just disappear into our fantasy worlds.

Unfortunately some of us ended up looking like this guy....

As a result the rest of us got branded with this horrible stereotype that we're all total losers. We're not all this way. Ya I don't look like Vin Diesel (who's on the other end of the spectrum from your typical gamer) but I'm certainly not that guy. Take a look at this picture:

Two out of the three people here are D&D gamers (hint, its not the lady). The bearded guy is me, and the other guy is one of my players. See how cool we look? Am I bragging a bit? Ya, maybe a touch. But I'm trying to get the point across that we're not all the kids in the first picture. Maybe we once were (God knows I was), but we aren't anymore.

I was thinking about this because if I'm going to open my own store I want it to be a place where the unwashed guy in the sweatpants can go, but I also want it to be a place where the girl in the picture above wouldn't be afraid to walk past without garlic and a crucifix. I was thinking that to do this I would need to make sure the place was painted nicely, and used real wood book shelves with a dark stain to make the place feel inviting. I wouldn't put those window decals everywhere and posters would be in frames. I have thought about offering more than Mountain Dew and Snickers for snacks(maybe a panini).

What would you like to see in a gaming store that would make you feel comfortable to sit and play in? What would bring your girlfriend or wife into the store as well? What would make them stay and have a drink and chat with friends while you game? If you're a girl gamer, what do you want? I would love to know.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some lapses

To my faithful few readers,

I'm not forgetting to post and I am writing. I'm in the process of moving and getting everything organized, finishing my last job and moving on to my new place, packing, etc. is taking a lot of my time.

Expect me to be back to my full fledged posting 3 days a week by the 20th of Semptember.

Until next time...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is Dark Sun Worthwhile?

I've been talking with the people over at the official Dark Sun website and there have been some mixed reviews about the new world. This has caused enough of a discussion that I figured I'd talk about it here.

To begin, I love this re-image of Dark Sun. I really believe that it boils down to is a re-image of the world. I've been hearing things like, "where are the pterrans?", "Why are the descriptions so vague?", etc etc etc.

Well folks there are many reasons to bitch if you loved Dark Sun in second edition and don't want it to change. But it has changed. Dark Sun is a huge world and people who are obsessed with the original version of the campaign world are going to be like Star Trek geeks, they nit pick on everything. Grow up, move out of your mother's basement and accept that change happens.

This new image of Dark Sun is more vibrant than its predecessor. Is it a little less detailed? Sure. The first book is a campaign intro book. It's purpose is to describe the world of Dark Sun. In short, it is a summary book. This book is supposed to introduce new people to Dark Sun without overwhelming them with details that will just make them think, "you know what? I already know Forgotten Realms, I don't need to cram all this shit into my brain."

However the new Dark Sun has things in it like themes and details on new races and new ways of handling old races. It has more customization and lets face it, if you've played 2nd edition you know that customization was in short supply in that edition of D&D.

What does 4th edition Dark Sun offer? It offers a chance to bring Dark Sun into mainstream D&D again. It was a side world that few people played in 2nd edition, much like Spelljammer or Birthright. It was so unpopular that it was never reprinted in 3rd edition. However, the devoted fans of Dark Sun kept it alive and its now in 4th edition. So let's stop bickering about what this version doesn't have and focus on what it does have. Not to mention that it's been out for like 2 weeks now and it took 2nd edition Dark Sun several years to get all the books out. Stop expecting miracles.

If you haven't checked out Dark Sun yet, now is the time to do so. The world is rich and has lots of unique ways to play D&D. The books are new and there's lots of room to grow with the world without being overburdened with too much cannon. For the veteran Dark Sun players out there this is an opportunity. This is the chance to change the cannon and create entirely new things that will only add to the greatness that is Dark Sun. I recommend going to your local gaming store and participate in the monthly D&D game day. The one for Dark Sun has already come and gone, but there's plenty of opportunity to talk up the world and to show players how great this campaign is.

So stop bitching, accept change and roll with it. Change is good, and we're in a great position to affect the change in Dark Sun.

Until next time...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quick Hello

Hey guys, I wanted to say hello and that I am working on some fun adventure ideas. Right now my mind is consumed with thoughts about Dark Sun and the world around it. It's such a vast and exotic world. I made a post earlier about burning out and how it is important to keep things creative and different. If you don't, then things can quickly fall apart.

That's the reason I love Dark Sun so much. It's D&D in every sense of the word, but at the same time it is something completely different. This world where the oceans are made of silt, and even surviving in the sun and finding water is a challenge. Most players don't think about their food or water rations in normal D&D worlds. They just shovel 50g every few dungeons and don't think about it. Here it is the difference between life and death. This is a great world to use to spice things up and really get the party excited about the game again.

I hope in the coming weeks that I can provide encounters and adventure arcs that will be inspirational so that everyone can have a good time and great ideas for their Dark Sun campaigns.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Encounter: Silt Horror

Encounter Level 12 (3,500 XP)

Introduction The party is traveling along the silt sea. This encounter can be easily adapted to fit whatever mode of transit the party is using. The party is moving along when they are attacked by a Silt Horror, waiting for prey beneath the sand.

The Silt Horror can be found in the Dark Sun Creature Catalog on page 86. I used the Deserts of Athas tiles for this battle map. (Don't ask me why they used blue to represent the silt sea, I guess they underestimate the intellect of their players.)


Read the following to the party:
The sun sits at it's zenith, and the hot wind blows softly from the west. As you move across the silt sea, the sand beneath you begins to rumble. Suddenly large, white tentacles burst from the dunes, swinging with precision, as if some unseen force is driving them.

This battle is separated into two phases. The first phase consists of the tentacles while the second maintains the tentacles but the body of the silt horror emerges. Place the tentacles during phase 1, but hold off on placing the Silt Horror until phase 2 begins.

Phase 1

The tentacles come in groups of 4 or 5 (Dungeon Master's discretion) and continue to regenerate until 20 tentacles have been destroyed. They attack with purpose, trying to cause the most harm to as many of the players as possible.

Once 20 tentacles have been destroyed, read the following to the players:

The tentacles vanish beneath the sand and for a moment all is calm. Then the silt beneath your feet starts to rumble and shake violently. Suddenly a great behemoth bursts from the depths, it's gaping maw filled with sharp teeth. The tentacles stream from its body, moving right for you.

Phase 2

In this phase the body of the Silt Horror is visible. The horror will regularly move beneath the sand to get closer to its food. It will try to bite any grabbed character. When bloodied the silt horror will attempt to flee, flinging away any character currently grabbed.

Features of the Area

Sea of Silt - The ground in this area is part of the silt sea and as such cannot support the weight of the characters if they stand upon it. Treat the ground as a Silt Sink hazard (found on page 140 of the Dark Sun Creature Catalog).

Scorching Sun - It is mid-day and the sun is at its worst. Players without proper protection should roll against Gray Death and Sun Sickness.

Until next time...