Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hit NYC, Got a Good Buzz with Tenkar.

It was a good day.  I hit NYC, ran a couple of errands, then joined Erik Tenkar of Tenkar's Tavern fame, for a run of a few stores and beer and burgers.   First we hit The Strand bookstore.  I think they call themselves the world's largest used bookstore.  I looked for older Moorcock books and the like, and came up empty, but Erik found an old book by Gygax. 

Next stop was the Compleat Strategist.  World's best gaming store.  I picked up the three AD&D reprints, as well as the ACKS hardcover.  Yeah, I could have gotten it off Amazon cheaper, but what the hell.  Have to support the FLGS, you know?  I also mentioned to Erik that I would love to get the original Traveler books, and he pulled the reprints off the shelf for me.  Perfect! 

Next up was a pub (with shamrocks on the outside, so you know its got to be good) right across the street from the CS.  Great Burger, Great Beer, and Great Bullshit session.  After a half dozen beers and a few shots, his son picked him up, and I walked it off to Washington Square Park, then took a cab up to Grand Central and took the train home.  Great day.

Love the reprints, btw. 

Great job WOTC.  There's something I thought I'd never say.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Best D&D Groups

The best groups I've played in are where people are the most selfless.  Not towards the world, or in terms of alignment, but in terms of others' fun.  Good groups are where players and DM try to maximize their own fun while trying to minimize taking away from other party members fun.  The best groups try to maximize everyone's fun first, and are usually rewarded in turn by others doing the same for them, and therefore never have to worry about their own fun.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

D&D with the Nephews

The nephew D&D brainwashing project---aka babysitting duties for the weekend---is complete.

I think it was a success, as afterwards the 7 yr old spent an hour drawing his castle and the town around it and the secret rooms where they lived under the basement of the castle, and the 4 yr old simply asked me if I could live with them from now on.  :)

Matt played a ranger named Olwen, the class and name of his father's longest lived and favorite character growing up, and Sean the 4 yr old played a guy named Hulk, who was green and wore big armor and had a big sword.  They encountered a chest that had a jack-in-the-box that yelled "intruder alert!", a secret door, smelly dog-headed people, and a big bad dog-headed guy with red eyes named Red-eye Rick.

Here they are comparing dice...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Castle Zagyg, Meet Raistlin.

So shit got crazy last night.  A couple sessions ago, one of my players was actually able to buy a ring of three wishes (rolled randomly!), at a heavy discount, through middle-men which other adventurers sold to them.  Apparently it had a spider on it, and when put on, you saw/felt/knew that the energy imbuing the thing was from the Spidergod.   The other group didn't trust it in the least.

I figured that was sufficient notice that anything done with it would be more fucked up than normal.  :)

Anyhow, last night they popped off two wishes.  First, a guy wanted immunity to poison.  Granted!  Thing is, if you are ever involuntarily poisoned, you grow spider mandibles out of your face, and can poison someone once with a bite. 

Second wish:  This had to do with wanting the Castle to have the impenetrable fog around it again, which exists as it bounces around from plane to plane.  Wherever it might potentially randomly land, there is an impenetrable fog bank.  The players wanted no more interference from the town, which little did they know that game session was indeed planning an assault on the Castle.  At the time, the Castle was set in Greyhawk, though the players never really got into the setting per se.  They just beat on the Castle itself every session.

Fine says I, wish granted.  The fog goes up around where the Castle was in Greyhawk. 

Meaning, of course, that the Castle appeared on some other plane.  :)

I looked around my bookshelf for settings which I had and was decently familiar with.   Since it was a ring which was given its powers by the Spidergod, on a d6,  1-3 means it appears outside of a Drow city.  I let the wisher roll his fate:

1. Drow City
2. Drow City
3. Drow City
4. Wilderlands of High Fantasy
5. Forgotten Realms, just outside of Waterdeep
6. Krynn, two miles from the Inn of the Last Home.

You know by the title of the post where the Castle appeared.  :)

The castle was greeted by a contingent of villagers, the only notables amongst them named Raistlin, Sturm, Caramon, Flint, Tasselhoff, and Tanis.  Apparently these folks were in the Inn, having a dinner reunion after five long years on the road, when they were rudely interrupted by a massive castle appearing on their doorstep. 

The Dwarf thought the goblins of the Castle, who the pc's used as escorts, were Gully Dwarves and wanted to kill them, the halfling-looking being picked the Gully Dwarves pockets, the mage was intensely interested in planar travel and anything to do with magic and other gods and that the former owner of the Castle was a mage who ascended to godhood, the bearded human was interested in protecting his village, the big burly fighter couldn't understand half of what was discussed, and the knightly looking dude just sat there quietly, in shock with all the talk of other gods. 

There were two barbarians in the back of the crowd, one holding a staff, who kept to themselves, and it was obvious by the body language of those around them that they weren't from the village.

Anyhow, those six invited the pc group to the Inn for beer and spiced potatoes served by a big boobed redhead, where all the men of the village eavesdropped on their conversation, while an old man told stories in a corner.  At the climax of the story, he "accidentally" bumped a guy into the fireplace, where he burnt his hand.  The barbarian lady touched the hand with her staff, and the shock from the village from seeing a Castle appear on their doorstep was nothing compared to seeing someone healed.  The pc's looked on and wondered why it was such a big deal.  (Later, testing magical healing via spell and potion, they found that their healing wouldn't work here for some reason.)

While all this was going on, the village was attacked by lizard like creatures that turned to stone when killed.  The village blamed the pc's of course, until they fought side by side with the villagers to clear out the beasts.

The next day, after the funerals of the villagers, the party and the 6 badasses of the village learned more about the magical staff, the history of the land, the gods, cataclysm, etc.  The barbarians wanted to go to where he thinks he found the staff (he remembers little, it was a fevered dream), and after a long discussion about the Castle and the threats the uncleared-out areas posed to the village, the 6 badasses decide they are going to hit the Castle from one direction, while the PC's hit it from another to clear it out.  If they can clear the rest of it out, it will be a safe place for the village to stay, in the HIGHLY UNLIKELY event the village is attacked.  :)  Meanwhile, they are going to strip the Castle of any iron or steel item in it, as that is apparently worth more than gold here.  The 6 badasses are in debt to the pc's already, as they gave the 6 three extra suits of platemail and some steel weapons better than the ones which they had.

Afterwards, the PC's have been invited to travel with the 6 badasses in order to discover the source of the healing magic.

I have no idea how this is going to pan out.  I told the players that they can do whatever they want, and I'll go with it.  If they want to go with the group, keep on exploring the Castle, or pop the remaining wish off and try for another option of the 6 locations, that's up to them.  In any case, what happens in this world, according to the novels and that timeline in the novels, will continue to happen in the background while they do whatever they decide to do. 

The beauty of this is that one player has no idea about anything related to Dragonlance, never having read the books.  The other two players from last night had read them, but it was a dim memory from their youth.   This is gonna be fun!

Anyone interested in the Zagyg/Dragonlance mashup I've got going on, come on in!  Next game is Friday night August 3, 9:30 pm EST, 1:30 am Saturday morning GMT.

The next two Fridays are going to be taken up with this:  http://wondrousimaginings.blogspot.com/2012/07/attention-people-who-play-in-google.html

You're all welcome to join in that too.  I am looking to get a regular campaign group for it. 

One wish spell, and one random die roll, and everything about my Castle Zagyg game is completely turned on its head. 

I love D&D.  :)

p.s.  Sign that I roleplayed the 6 badasses right---from the player who never read the books before and had no idea what Dragonlance is:  "I don't trust that red-robed wizard."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vesper's Diary: Fiery Slaughter!


A write-up on my ACKS campaign run by Tenkar on G+ on Saturday night, from the POV of my character Vesper, the Nightblade, an elven assassin. 

Well, we cleared out the mines and found some Viz. It was an ingenious plan that the group came up with, under my fine leadership of course, which ended up saving the day. A burning oil filled cart with a bound and ungagged screaming orc in it was sent down the hall, to cause chaos and confusion amongst the orcs, which led to a massive slaughter.

Next on the agenda is Blackmarsh. We enter nicely equipped, and ready for anything. First on my agenda is to reach out to my brotherhood, pay my respects, and try to determine if I can purchase or otherwise acquire a cloak and boots of my kind, as well as goggles which let me see in the dark as well as my lizard man companion. Without those things I fear I am hobbled in my ability to carry out my primary role. Perhaps if I can prove to my brotherhood that I am ready for such treasures, I will be able to acquire them.

I know that beneath the Castle Blackmarsh there are unexplored dungeons, deemed too dangerous to enter. They are also rumored to have magic or other items of power which the elves do not want to fall into the hands of humans or the other lesser races, which is why it is controlled by the elven race. Perhaps that would be a way to gain such recognition.

It troubles me how much the group doesn't realize that elven leadership is what saves the day most times, but they are lesser races, full of arrogance, so I guess I'll have to deal with it. I will attempt to teach them humility by example, but I despair that they will ever develop my level of humility.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Attention! People Who Play in Google Plus Hangout D&D Games, Or Those Who Want To

Would you be interested in this:

I currently run a home brew face to face DnD game, using LOTFP as the rule set. It is a harsher grittier world and game than traditional DnD. I was thinking of running a game here on G+, non-flailsnails, in the same world with the same system that takes place on a different continent of my world, where what you guys do here on G+ affects what happens in my face to face game and vice-versa. It will not be a dungeon crawl, it will be a full scale campaign. Dungeons may be a part of it here and there, but it is a sandbox game where you are in control of your own destinies. I have a full blown player handout if we decide to get this off the ground, but here's the gist of it:

There are no gods of good or evil. The church is like the mafia. Good and evil as concepts do not exist. It's just them v us. If you are looking to play a paladin or a hero, this is not the game for you.

Likewise, if you can't be a self-directed adventurer, this is also not the game for you. By that I mean you won't be sitting at the bar waiting for rumors of some lost city, or have a damsel in distress come in crying for help. You need to go out and based on who and what you know, what you discover and learn, and what you do, forge your own destiny. I'll give tons of hooks and info, you guys take all that and run with it and make of your pc's what you will.

You can only play as a human and in one of the four basic classes in LOTFP. All other races and classes are npc types to be discovered.

You have no history or backstory. You will be from a village in the middle nowhere with no knowledge of the rest of the world around you. Your sister wasn't captured by orcs waiting to be rescued, your father wasn't a great warrior, etc. you are nothing but what you make if yourself as an adventurer.

No one cares about you ---not the gods, the church, the rulers, maybe not even your own village-you're not special, no one has a destiny, there are no noble quests waiting to be taken. The level of sociopathy in this world is much higher than in our own. If anything this is a Darwinian story-game about power and survival. Brains, cunning and survival instincts of the player will determine how well you do here.

I know the game style is not for everyone. It took me a year of searching in real life to put together a face to face group that this appealed to, another year of play to get a solid group of players who enjoy and are good at playing such a game, after going thru a dozen or so others who tried it and found it not to their tastes.

Have no illusions, it's dangerous. In a year my group has gone thru about twenty five pc's and followers combined. One guy who left the group said I dm'd the game like Tony Soprano would. Which I took as a great compliment, because it's what I was aiming for in the tone and theme of the campaign.

With all that being said, is anyone interested in such a game to be run on G+ every other Friday night from about 9 pm USA east coast time until midnight or so?

Player intro doc here:

 https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B84p0Ne9rRLvSkNfeUE5SklhczA