Thursday, December 22, 2011


So, I seem to have agreed to run a Nobilis one-shot next week, in addition to playing Shieldhaven's Yearly One-Shot, a Song of Ice and Fire hack set in his homebrew setting of Aurikesh. So I am focusing on that, and on other writing projects, and yeah.

So anyway, go read This very thoughtful look at Vancian Magic which does a really good job of covering what I actually like about playing a Magister in AE. Though I do agree with Shieldhaven's comment that seeking and finding spells would be super awesome-- I've just never played a game where the DM actually cared about running that kind of thing, or offering that kind of treasure.

...And I still think that 4e isn't bad for doing this, I mean, there's actually rules for handing out powers as Training Treasure, and I imagine that there are ways to make rituals cooler, and more of this kind of flavor.

Which kind of gives me an idea for how I'd run a 4e game, the next time I try (my current game notwithstanding, I am hoping to pick that up in Jan.)... but Shieldhaven's been making noises about wanting some heroic adventure, and I've been making noises about wanting to run something he could play in.

Basically, I'd probably do one of those hacks where either bonuses are built in and divorced from gear (so that gear can be just cool abilities/powers, instead of What You Need To Hit/Not be Hit more), create an interesting list of maybe 12 magical components that have to be combined variously to create different effects for crafting/spell creation, and have them be real things that the players are actively seeking in-game. Also, I'd consider severely limiting the either all Arcane Classes, or maybe just Wizards, to just their At-Wills, and maybe 1 Encounter.

Daily Powers would come soley from rituals, which could be created via a recipe (a certain combination of materials related to the kind of effect one wants), or discovered in play. A Ritual would need to be performed at the end of an Extended Rest, and grants the Wizard their daily for the day. You could only prepare one a day, of course, though you could have a pretty hefty spell-book of Rituals. Perhaps at very high levels, one could have more, and I suppose one could do this for Dailies and Encounters and have lesser and greater Rituals, but I dunno.

I also kind of like the idea of Rituals that would allow you to, say, swap out a power for a multi-charge power that's better, but costs you something, materially.

The big problem I always had with Vancian Magic in D&D wasn't that you had a spell book, and had to prepare spells, it's that the components were undefined and were just, "I dunno, components." and later ones seemed to just assign arbitrary, random components without rhyme or reason... incense, or a 500 gp bowl had no contextual connection to anything, you just know you need them. What I would need to make me happy there would be context. Not unlike the Oblivion alchemy system, where you know, for example, that a certain mushroom cap is super useful in invisibility potions, or strength, or whatnot.

Anyway. I'll think about that more when I don't have a story due today, and you know, actual work. Though it's awesome how I only really have ideas when I've got deadlines.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Arkham City's Social Implications: the Bad, the Good, and the Lazy.

So, Shieldhaven is on the New Game Plus of Arkham City, which is, really, a good enough game to go ahead and play through a second time on, "OH FUCK WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE MURDERED OVER AND OVER BY MOOKS DEAR GOD WHY!?" difficulty. I mean it. It's everything good about, say, Prototype and everything good about Arkham Asylum rockin' it together in a bad-ass package where you even get to play Catwoman!

Which doesn't mean that Well-deserved criticism is not well-deserved.

But I don't really want to talk about the details of how the egregiously gross attitudes of the thugs in Arkham City are wrong, though I'm going to. What I want is to talk about one of the defenses that I keep seeing pop up for this kind of thing. Basically:

"It's not sexism, it's just lazy writing. Which means it's disappointing, but not really malicious."

I also want to talk about the social issues deal that Arkham City does do right, but we'll see if I have enough brain for that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Brain Dump.

Taking a hiatus from Roundups, due to excessive work on DtD, and general exhaustion. Which, I realise, is kind of lame, as I really owe a re-cap of Don't Rest Your Head and our latest Mage session, and this weekend will be AE... well, perhaps I'll get my brain together enough to deal with it sometime next week. I'd like to (if I can muster enough will) switch up a bit to other topics, and finishing outstanding projects like the Three Gates Dungeon and the pWnies.

In the meantime, you should check out Shieldhaven's 4e Crafting Hack here, and yes.

Also, the combination of FATE, Technoir, and Don't Rest Your Head has me thinking more about adjective application RP systems (instead of hit-points exactly, you apply adjectives that do bad things to people, or accept conditions) and how that might work for a psionic and/or horror system. I like them for being RP tweaks, by and large, kind of like... well, one thing I always kind of enjoyed in early D&D was making people switch up their alignment, as a way to have them tweak their RP, you know, "Okay, so what does Lawful Neutral look like on this PC?" Now, as a rule for the length of a campaign, Alignment is kind of lame, but as a temporary effect, benefit, or penalty, I like the idea of the consequences being manifest that way, in concert with the actual, mechanical penalties (whatever they are).

Also have been talking to Shieldhaven a lot about Echo Bazaar style menaces as tabletop consequences, and how that sort of thing might work, esp in Mythos Horror. Because the tradeoff of sanity v. mythos is ultimately pretty limiting, imho.

Anyway, now that I've dumped the things that are in my head for later reference, perhaps I'll be inspired to make a more thorough post, later.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Session Roundup #21

Sleepy Rabbit is sleepy. But I want to talk about the various games I've played over the past couple weeks before I run my game tomorrow. So, without further fuckery:

Dust to Dust-- yep, it's started; just out, and just wonderful. Some of the things I've complained about in other LARPs came home to roost, and that was enlightening-- specifically about time management. Which I should have known, having NPCd as much as I have, but that's all right. Got a lot of good mysteries out in play, and that's what matters. Looking forward to the next one.

I was also thinking of... so, there's games which are PVP, and games which are co-op. I am a big fan of games where the world is so Out to Murder You, that while you have as many personal and social conflicts as you like, you'd better get on with the people you live near when the shit goes down. The Arkaham Horror kind of game. And I sort of feel like that's where we are. I mean... we even have a Curiosity Shop! :D

Technoir-- I shall refer you to System Sans Setting's posts on the subject, but stop here to mention that I had a blast with this system. I got to play a completely riced out cyborg with an attack drone, who picked exactly the right stuff-- relative to a cyberware supplier, filled with odd and experemental cybernetics-- to be roped into one of the main and creepy plots, about my cousin's sister who was so borged out she was no longer even a little human. It felt deep, rich, and completely organic. Would play again. Can I play again now?

Mage: The Awakening-- Another classic session, mostly dealing with winding up the previous plotline, and getting us dealing with the consequences of having, um... disappeared off the effing map for a couple weeks. The main achievement of the session was getting the gems filled with Native American sprits into a museum's collection, thanks to the smoovness of Sequelah, and then talking to various mages about the Orders what exist, and which ones we should join. In addition to telling people more stuff about the horrible alternate reality of the Red Word. Volchik? Seriously leaning Mysterium. Mostly because while his natural inclination is Silver Ladder, everyone he's met of them, in his opinion, are obnoxious dickbags.

Nevermind what people think of him, of course.

Arcana Evolved-- There was an Arcana Evolved session run during D*Con, which has become pretty much a tradition at this point. It involved a battle against a Harrid (magic eating bastard) and his burrowing hounds and his bandit buddies, which meant that, once again, the most damage I did was giving Ghost Weapon to my friends. Though I did get off a particularly effective Gaze of Terror. But yeah... critters that _heal_ when I hit them with magic? Thumbs down. Not that shutting down the magister is a bad idea, really, and I've got enough spells that I've got a lot of indirect tricks (I mean, the Witch's best bet? Ice under the feet of the bad guys. Till the bad guy absorbs the magical ice and heals. ><) to use to be not entirely lame. This, by the way, is the fault of 3.x, which has straight up magical resistance as a thing. And I can't blame them-- energy type resist is way to easy to get around. But this is part of why I think no-fail damage, as spells are, mostly, is a not-so-great idea.

Also! Feeder Lady redeemed herself somewhat by letting us know that we could all take the ECL template: Runechild if we wanted. So I bought Child of Magic, which gave me, for free, a couple of spells that I'd totally be using all the time anyway, plus innate Magical Resistance, in addition to moar save bonuses. Suck it, monkeys!

Still gotta pick what my Rune actually says. Hm.

Legion-- system created by a couple of buddies that we playtested at D*Con. Good stuff, though the numbers run high. I was playing ehat amounted to a second level character, and felt like I couldn't fail near anything-- I just wasn't going to always critically succeed. That said, the penalties for some of the more stupid stuff I was doing-- using telekenisis to stop the spin of a plane with no engines-- were not crappy, and I could have conceivably killed myself. Also, fitting in all the characters and their stuff is not always simple. But Mr. M is a really good GM, and I had a blast. I mean, I'm a sucker for anything with a psionic skill.

Anyway, the game itself is good, old fashioned space marine sci-fi, set up for battle mechs (though we didn't get to play those), and psychic inquisitors, and awesome. Like I said, needs some numbers tweaking, but Recommended.

Gears of War, the Board Game-- yet another Fantasy Flight deal, this one takes the best things from Battlestar Galactica and makes them fit a shooter, namely the action cards. In GoW, these also represent health, and can be sacrificed based on card symbols to perform between turn actions, like following a moving teammate, guarding (attacking before the Locusts do), raising your defense by +2 dice, and something else that I never used because my character, Agustus Cole, could use every card to guard, and could guard on the same turn as other people. Which is the BEST THING EVER, and leads to awesome moments like, "OHSHIT this thing is going to eat my face!" BLAMMO! "Ah, nevermind, bitches."

The ammo mechanics are pretty cool, and chainsaws win. Would like to play a non-beginner game in future, but glad we did that board first. Anyway, I really love Fantasy Flight's full co-op board games. A solid win.

I'm probably forgetting stuff, but that's all on the top of my list right now. My DS is fixed (huzzah!), so I've been playing some oldies like Platinum Sudoku, Meteos, and Metroid Prime Pinball. Am I going to get the Phoenix Wright/Professor Layton crossover game when it comes out?

Oh yes, yes I am.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Not-Roundup #7 and

So, as you may have noticed, there was no Roundup Last week. This has to do with how Friday was start of the first ever Dust to Dust event, and now, I am all but a corpse.

I have quite a bit to talk about this week-- a bit about the event itself, and also a game of Technoir run by Systems Sans Setting-- and hopefully we'll get to it on Thursday, but it's possible that I will still be too corpsified for it. Mais alors, this has been your friendly neighborhood heads up.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Session Roundup #20

Brought to you by the incredible lateness of Dust to Dust Website Updates last night. You might look at the line, "Added Ancient Tales to the Codex of Dust." and think, "that doesn't sound like so much!" But if you are of that opinion, then I invite you to actually view the Ancient Tales Link and viddy what that actually involved-- namely, creating all those pages and adding the stuff. Oy. So. Sleepy.

Now, to bring you up to speed, last weekend was Arcana Evolved down in Georgia, following up the Last Session with a twelve hour marathon, in which we fought some super annoying mooks and a Rune Reaver. Full Disclosure: The mooks were annoying to me because they were also magisters, and dispelled my Clever Electrified Lair Trap. POUT. And I could have saved the 7th level slot for Spellmaster! GRAH!

Also, my rolls were crap. Fortunately, I made up the damage by giving Mirth and Ai-Wyn Ghost Weapon, which allowed them to bypass armor in their hits. So sweet.

This was especially useful, as the Rune Angel what I mentioned last time, who came to help us fight the Reaver?

Well, you might question the wisdom of enlisting the aid of a creature made of runes to fight a creature that eats runes with a touch. Well, we were too. Too late, unfortunately, to keep it from being a Rather familiar situation for those familiar with the classiest community on the internet. Still, we were triumphant, and classy enough to refrain from telling her to "OMG L2P!" to uninstall her skillset, or to cut off her hands rather than continue to heal our enemy every time she got hit, touched, or looked at funny. Instead we subjected her to over an hour of the Loresong Faen asking her world lore questions, which, I feel, was a fitting consequence.

Also! We got an item which increases the duration of Abjuration spells by 50%, which is super cool, as it could well be useful for me. Happy!

Shieldhaven has been playing Bastion lately, which has been a joy to watch, I've been playing Sudoku on my newly repaired DS, (W00t!), and we both have been playing a LOT of Echo Bazaar, which is a wonderful game with the world's shittiest server architecture. Ah well. Still worth it.

Next Friday is the First full Dust to Dust event EVAR. So if there is a not-roundup, or no roundup at all, please to be forgiving me, and I'll try to fill in the gaps with something that vaguely resembles content in the meantime.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Session Roundup #19

I actually have two gaming sessions for you this week! only sort-of because I skipped last week. But nu, I ran my game, for the first time since March, last Friday! That was a lot of fun; I had missed it quite a lot. A DM isn't really supposed to admit this, but boy-howdy was I flying by the seat of my pants on that one. Also, Mage: The Awakening tonight! So without further ado...

Tradya's Workshop: So, last session having been about a million years ago, and life being insane, I had done virtually no prep for this game. I'd left them at the first room of Tradya's library, back where they'd started. So they decided to try another path; the one beginning with 'A'.

They went down A, then R, Then B, then B again, then O, then wound up facing a huge construct spider, based on the Young Volcanic Dragon elite, scaled for their level (5) and with some was really completely terrible. The aura 1 5 poison damage that went to aura 3, the burning web zone that lasts a turn and deals 5 damage, plus webs that restrain, and a horrible bite that deals ongoing 5 fire, plus a triggered burst when hit with fire... yeah. Awful. I will post the stat block sometime when I am less wiped. Either way, it was a short session, but fun, and I look forward to getting back into the swing of things.

Mage: The Awakening: Followed hard upon last session, and also really good. We (by which I mean Sequela and Tommy) cleaned our evil-selves out of the gems we found, though Suriya's got out and tried to run. So Sequela commanded it to stay put while Tommy and Suriya shot Awakened Guns at it. I had... little to do in the fight, as nothing was susceptible to mind and Space doesn't have anything to attack with, so I worried about creating wards to calm down the craziness of the Fucks-With-Space labyrinth we were in. At any rate, we were able to trade the empty gems with the Indian spirits to get them to let us take the other two folks, and in exchange we would carry the spirits, in the gems, to museums that talked about their in-life tribal cultures. So that was all right.

On the way home, we called the Gravediggers to let them know we'd rescued their D00ds, then chatted with Diomedes and Madog (the other two d00ds) all the way back to Boston. Diomedes had been trapped in the labyrinth since the Clinton administration, so he had a lot to catch up on. Madog... used to be our evil-dopplegangers' apprentice. So we had much to talk about. We found out, in the long run, that the kid was from a reality where The Prince of A Hundred Thousand Leaves was the Reality. So my guess is that we're not in Total Recall, we're in Many Worlds, and that's... better. As the idea of having actually lost 3 years of memory, plus, was super unsettling.

Anyway, super cool. This weekend: AE. Foon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Session Roundup #18

Hello kids. I am effing exhausted, so there'll be a really short Roundup tonight. Which is kind of a shame, because we played Mage this evening, and it was super bloody awesome. I mean, really cool. Cool enough that I want to spend more time parsing it before I dive into talking about it, but what the hell? Our cabal was in the midst of deciding whether we were gonna help bonus dudes escape from this misty spirit labyrinth, (see last session for sort-of how we got here-- basically, we freed some dudes with the Ghost Bees and Tigers, but there's some other guys we could free too, if we come up with a challenge...) when we, well... basically unlocked this whole nested sideplot about basically evil bits of our own souls, trapped in gems. Apparently, we are, or were, Total Recall style sleeper agents. For serious. So we got deep into trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do about that, which meant that Tommy spent a lot of the game talking to the spirits of gems with his super cool Spirit 3.

Also, I totally bought Space 3 with my xp from last session. Now we're thinking in portals!

Only, well... the paradox. :)

Anyway, we left on a cliffhanger-- we've just sort-of come up with a plan to convince the spirits in the woods to let everyone in the labyrinth go, by exorcising the gems with our evil selves in them, and offering the spirits a place in them.

I am not doing the plot, or the session justice here, for which I feel really bad. I'll try to do better later. Culture Packets for Dust to Dust are finally over, for the most, so I am relieved, but wiped. Plus, I have some other writing obligations.

Finally, I've been playing Echo Bazaar on Shieldhaven's recommendation, and I really love the feel here. It is super creepy and awesome. Personally, I love it when things are odd and deep and don't really make sense for a long time. It's deliciously overwhelming, and that says yes to me.

Now, sleep. No really. It's important.

Friday, July 22, 2011

As an FYI.

Shieldhaven posted today about LARP culture packets, what they are, ways to do them, and why we're doing them the way we are in Dust to Dust. If you're interested in LARP at all, it's definitely worth a read. Also, you'll get some small idea of what I've been doing with SO MUCH of my time lately, so that I've not been, you know... running things, or working on Dungeons, Pwnies, or anything else.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Session Roundup #18

This week was pretty much Over the Edge, and also the iphone app Alchemy, which is sad and addictive and I love it. Anyway.

So, the premise in Alchemy is that you start with Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, and then combine them to make things, which you then combine to make other things, until you have bacteria and life and man and volcanoes and beer and switzerland and jedi and kilts. It's kind of awesome and hilarious. Recommended. Word to the wise-- go ahead and pay for the 99 cent app; it crashes a lot less than the free version with (poorly scripted) ads.

And now, Over the Edge. Have I mentioned how much I love this game? I kind of love it a lot. It is rules light without making one paralyzed by choice. The characters are insane and awesome, and it's great for pickup games. We had three new players, as our friend Pipistrella was in town, and also the Monkey King was down from John Waters land to pick up his Brock Samson-esque character. So apart from that, it was me and Stands-in-Fire as the Veterans, Shieldhaven running it, and Four Color and System Sans Setting as the newbies.

This one was basically a large combat with a gang, as they tried to steal the Crimson Chamber, also known as the Massive Paperweight That Spits Out Monsters. Combat is pretty much equal give and take (unless there's guns, don't let there be guns), and though it took a while, it's really fun. We managed to get the hell away from the E-Z Sleep, the shady-ass hotel where we were holed up, after discovering, at the tail end, the horrible experiments going on in the basement. Aiie. Such a random and kind of awesome setting.

Last session, since it was forever ago, is here.

Now, back to Dust to Dust Website updates.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Session Roundup #17

So, I effed up two weeks of Roundup, but there wasn't really all that much till last night: Mansions of Madness, Angry Birds, Fallout: New Vegas, and last night's Mage: The Awakening.

Mansions of Madness: Shieldhaven already did a thorough analysis here, but yeah, it's awesome. I played the Nun, which is pretty much the best choice in Arkham Asylum. And a good one here too, though it kind of hoses your buddies-- since shenanigans are more expensive to play on you, the Storyteller hoses them more often. I'm curious to try with some of the other characters, now that I know something about the game.

The oddest thing is that how our lives would have been SO MUCH HARDER if we'd gone for all of the clues. Although everyone lost, it would have been more climactic, if harder, if we had remembered to go for the next proper target. Ah well. Booze and Lovecraft... just fine, actually.

Angry Birds: Effing addictive iphone games. I have nothing to say about this, but it's fun. Yes. Fun. Shut up.

Fallout: New Vegas: So, Made it to the Strip. So far, aligning with Mr. House, though that may change. You know what I love? How I'm Neutral (coz of stealing), but there's so many Good Guy options which involve coming to a peaceful solution, where no one dies. This makes me so happy. I like. Anyway, I'm probably going to go do a bunch of side-quests before I do any more of the main quest, except that I don't want to blow my free pass with the Caesar's Legion guys, while I have it.

Mage: The Awakening: Super fun session last night, involving a forest of Forgotten Ghosts and Spirits, where we went to rescue some Sentinels that had gotten... ah, lured from the path. However, our Moros and our Thyrsus clued us into the beings trying to do the same to us, and we went to the Guardians of the Forest, who challenged one of our warriors to a fisticuffs battle, with the rest of us offering support. We could cast spells on our guy, or the terrain (including the ghost critters in the area), but not on the other warrior or _his_ support. So, if it's a bareknucklething, we threw Tommy (Stands in Fire) under the bus. And then...

Well, Ghost Bees.

Ghost Bees and Ghost Wolves from me, unlucky ground from our Fate Guy, and Tommy turned plants into a Tiger.

So that was awesome.

Tomorrow night we've got an Over The Edge session, so I am looking forward to that most assiduously, and later this month, there should be the Return of My D&D game.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If I were a CEO: Tabletop Games, #1.

This pair of posts on This blog that Shieldhaven reads and I really should read too, because it's pretty awesome, got me thinking about an idea I'd had on one of the many, many long-ass car rides I go on with Haven and/or Stands-in-Fire (I am pretty sure Stands-in-Fire was there for this one), about how I would run the D&D side of WoC, if I owned it. Also, refined the ideas somewhat through conversations with Four Color Criticism, who understands far more about publishing than I have any hope of knowing ever.

Keep in mind that this is the hypothesis phase, so I haven't thoroughly or crunchily weighed or vetted any of these things, and this can hardly be called a proper business plan. Rather, I am going by impression and wondering if these things would work. But nu, to the stuff:

Not-Roundup #6

Having failed at Roundup for the past week (though I do, now, have some stuff to talk about), I am going to do a momentary driveby to deposit this link, about Ponyfinder, a My Little Pony variant of Pathfinder.

Yeah, you're welcome. :D

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Session Roundup #16

Two weeks out of date, alas! But with good reason-- Shieldhaven and I were out of the country for a weekend, and friends getting married on a tropical island do take precedence. Not that there's been much to report, game-wise... I've gotten to disc 2 of Shadow Hearts, and Haven and I, with the help of one of his co-workers, Spirofin, managed to make it to the 3rd tier of depth in Spiral Knights. Which is a ride we are not even a little bit tall enough for. Time to work up to that 5-star gear, which will require a profound investment of time, money, or both. Which is a difference in philosophy between Haven and I-- he will Never Ever Pay Real Money For a nominally Free To Play Game, while I will apply Arcade Logic: that is to say, I am having a good enough time that I would totally feed quarters into this if I were in an arcade, so dropping 10 bucks on energy to craft faster doesn't bug me. I want to write about micro-transaction models and De Biz more, but... well. Time. We'll see.

Thank goodness it's not pinball. My Biggest Weakness!

Also, there was Arcana Evolved the weekend before last, a short session. We spent the first half-hour or so of the game addressing the question of whether we'd be charged, and how much, for using the Library of Eradnos (sp?), to which we'd finally made it last session. The answer was that they'd accept payment in trade, which, luckily, people who weren't Basel took care of, because I think they have Magisters to do... well, pretty much everything she can do.

We didn't have time to trigger the fight with the Rune Reaver before Haven and I had to leave for the Eclipse One Day, though we came up with some pretty nifty plans to fight it (three cheers for access to seventh level spells, and the Dragon Template!), so we spent the rest of the time chatting with the Rune Angel who had come to help us fight it. There was some discussion of whether or not she'd give us info as to the plot macguffin that brought us together, which boiled down to... well, sort of but not really. Self-directed... stuff isn't really the point of this game, though. It's more... well, here's the stuff that is happening, and we can react to it or not, mostly through where we decide to go. That said, helping to defeat this Rune Reaver thing is pretty cool, while I'm still at a loss as to the whole spreading cold and what we can do about it. Though we've apparently done some! Which is good! Stupid ice devils.

Which brings me to the Eclipse One Day! That was pretty darn excellent, all told. They rented Safety Wolf; a paintball facility in Conyers, GA. It used to be a cheap-o hotel, and now is a creepy, multi-room, no air-conditioning hellhole that was the perfect place to take down a horrible terrorist and yes. Of particular note were some utility boxes they set up, where mucking with them with a number of skills, including Security Counter measures, Energy-tech, and the like produced different results, and combined with info from a computer that the hackers had to get into. It was _awesome_. And there was much fighty. There had been a conversation earlier that day about how NPCs didn't use guns often enough; yeah, that was definitely not the case here. So many guns! The only thing that would have made it better would have been the lights flickering, instead of just being turned off.

Also, kneepads. I am wearing kneepads to every event from now on. My knees love me so much for it. And I need to get gel-pads for my boots. So badly.

These are my hands, my knees!
Spacepunk Samurai Knees.

No Mage tonight, as there is too much writing to do-- this post being one thing, and much belated Website Updates for Dust to Dust. And Culture Packets. And, if I can manage it, any of the other posts I want to do. Meh.

Monday, June 20, 2011

RoadTrip Inspiration

As may have been mentioned before, Shieldhaven and I go on a number of road trips, usually to Georgia, which involves many hours of natter. And not a little of this natter, of various sorts, is about random design ideas and the like. The chief topic of discussion this time were a pair of branching ideas, stemming from his thinking about how to make martial combat in D&D 4e feel more parry and thrust... have a certain amount of dynamic action, where one can actually respond to attacks in a way that is logical given one's particular class (read: Martial School). One hopes he will expound further on the topic, as it was a really cool idea, and I contend that it is not that difficult, in 4e, to do something like this by adding minor action powers to classes.

However, when he was first pitching the idea, I managed to completely misunderstand what he was trying to do, sticking on the point of, "a purely martial system." Which made me think about, "wait, why no mages? What if there were NOTHING BUT mages?"

Now, it occurs to me that most of the time, when one winds up talking about any given tabletop game system, one is actually talking about combat systems. There's a number of reasons for this, but the main one is that it is more clear-cut to reduce combat actions to roll something, do something, than the huge and open field of social endeavors that people can undertake.

And then there's magic. Magic, especially in earlier editions of D&D, is pretty much a box of tools a mage can use to fight, sure, but realistically they have a potentially huge number of applications, limited only by whether or not you're the sort of person who would do well in Spontaneous Competitions in Odyssey of the Mind. So what happens in a world where everyone is basically a wily tool-user, and there's none of the beloved hack-and-slashers to stand before our dress-wearing wimpiness and take the damage?

Well, first of all, rather than dispense with the question of why there are no fighter PCs, let's come up with some answers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Session Roundup #15

Had Mage: The Awakening tonight, which was entertaining, as it was the first encounter with our Cabal (we've decided we're a Cabal now!) and the Boston Consilium. We managed to gain status with them through describing our encounter with the Cult of the Red Word, and explaining how we fought them, and turning the horribly evil Abyssal artifact we recovered to the Witch King of Angmar Nemean Hierarch. Clearly, his cabal, the Ebon Noose, are Ring Tainted a little corrupt already. But nu. Also we picked up some quests from various other members of the Consilium, were solicited by some orders, and set up an arrangement to trade some of our Hallow's Tass for Rotes. Which is good, because we upgraded to Hallow 3, and because I don't think any of us are in much of a hurry to jump into orders.

Even better, no one went out of their way to make themselves Odious to Volchik, so we're actually on pretty good terms with everyone so far.

Eclipse event and Arcana Evolved coming up this weekend. I know I haven't run my D&D game in a while; we're waiting until after Dahlia's player's wedding to pick back up.

And now, Spiral Knights. :D

Monday, June 13, 2011

Not-Roundup #5

Super belated edition, as we didn't really play anything much-- I mean, barely even Spiral Knights-- between my last post and last Thursday. Well, I've played some random hidden object games, which I have to confess a weakness for. Also, I have been thinking about game economies, and the kinds of games like Pony Island and Neopets which are, well.. pure economy games. The genre is fascinating, as it's amazing how much trading pixels becomes the entire mode of play-- and how hugely popular those things are.

Next in Pwnies-- Air Ponies.

First, Section 2 of Dungeon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pwny Island, 4e Act 2: Earth Ponies

Now that I've posted the base stats and some design ideas for the pritty ponies, time to fill out the roster with powers and abilities. Each of the breeds belongs to an elemental type, because, well, of course they do. Today, we shall focus on the Earth-based ponies:

Earth Ponies: +2 STR, +2 to any one other stat.
Unicorns: +2 INT or CON, +2 WIS
Kirin Ponies: +2 INT or DEX, +2 CON
Purr Ponies: +2 DEX, +2 STR or CHA
Reindeer Ponies: +2 DEX or CHA, +2CON or STR

Friday, June 3, 2011

Session Roundup #14 :(

Okay, so I... I won't say lied, exactly, but was mistaken about my ability to catch up on Roundup posts in the intervening week. Anyway, here's what we've been up to, gamewise:

Magic The Gathering: New Phyrexia Expansion: So far, all right. Spendy in terms of mana costs, not so bad as Zendikar, and having the kinda neat thing where you can spend life instead of mana at a rate of 2:1 for some cards. Need to play a few more drafts to see what I really think, but there's some fantastically gross cards therein.

Mage: The Awakening: Last night's session was short, but really fun. First of all, went to Volchik's (my character) uncle's house to do research on an abyssal artifact received last session, and to research the Prince of a Hundred Thousand Leaves, who is apparently some sort of literary Lost Carcosa-- pieces of his book intrude on other works, and if they're all assembled, the abyssal reality which _is_ the Prince will replace our own. Horrible, sure.

But also wicked awesome.

Anyway, after that was a meeting with some banishers to convince them that they needed to help us with the abyssal, cannibal, cultists of the Prince, instead of, you know, killing us for being mages. We convinced the guys we were sitting with-- who could do absolutely nothing about the other banishers lying in ambush for us, and for whom they'd baited this trap. So Tommy (who I still think of as Tod Lowry, and is played by Stands-in-Fire), turned some of the decorative plants into a swarm of locusts, while Sequela (Four Color) controlled the shadows in the room to help us escape, and I went Incognito. Also, I decided to mind control a handful of the locusts, which was really useful when we got to the back door and there were dudes hanging out to jump us.

"Feast, My Hungry Children!" indeed.

I have to say, I like collaborative research in Mage-- first, all the assistants roll, and their successes are added to the final dice pool of the main researcher. This is some value more engaging than researching in a library in our AE game, which was pretty much, "you ask a librarian, who asks another librarian..." and so on. But I'll get to AE in a moment.

Best moment of the game? Our Obrimos, Suryia (System Sans Setting) agreeing to hand over a couple of Mages from the council to the Banishers in exchange for leaving us be. Since we had to cripple a couple of their dudes, don't know how well this will stand up, but we'll see. Because THERE'S NO WAY THIS WILL COME TO HAUNT US, RITE?

Also, Sequela and Volchik managed to find a couple of Rotes in Volchik's uncle's library. So that's awesome.

Arcana Evolved: On Sunday, while in Hotlanta, we managed to get in some AE, which was a pretty good time-- it was a shorter session for that game, which, in typical 3e fashion, meant all of one combat encounter. To be fair, this game is also frequently bogged down by IRL stuff and child wrangling, and was also the day after the 2nd World Event of Dust to Dust, so this Kainenchen was in a whole world of pain. That all said, my habitually whiny character had very little to complain about, as we mostly moseyed through the ruins of this city towards the bizarre interdimensional library by taking advantage of the extremely low going rates on native guides-- as in, 1 gold apiece. This was cool, as otherwise, it probably would have been three or four more sessions before we even made the library. As it was, we only wound up in a fight at the door, where some mooks called their Rune Reaver boss to come and bash us. Fortunately, we made it into the library first, where we met the (miraculously) still living last guy who seriously schooled it. At which point, we decided to cool our heels for a while, and do some research, while we made plans to give it a final beat down and restore some Imperial Order to the city. Banditry = Got to Go, and such.

Who can hate that? Not this Rabbit.

Dust to Dust World Event II: Return of the World Event: This world event was a thousand times smoother than the first one, which doesn't mean that it went perfectly by any means. Getting things that are basic setting information across to players is a huge challenge, and one we certainly don't have a good answer for yet. I suppose it's mostly a good thing that we're, you know, not a con/salon larp, and so not actually coming up with a bunch of pre-gens all the time. That said, everyone seemed to have a really wonderful time, so yay to that! We got to test a couple of different totems, and more higher level ritualism, which is _really_ dependent on the efficiency of the rituals in play. Not that any player could know that off the bat.

But, well, it is to find out!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Session Roundup #13, part a

A week late, but I wanted to go ahead and get through this, as there is Mage and DtD Website Updates tonight, so the chance of my getting a Roundup done this evening after the game is exceptionally slim. So this will be a two-part Roundup, to make up for last week's total lack.

Last week, there was Eclipse the between-meal-minigame, and then Eclipse the actual LARP. Shieldhaven has a breakdown of the first here, where he talks about the pros and cons of this way of running between game events.

I've been chewing over the subject since the thing started steamrolling. The playerbase saw a report of some serious evil dudes attacking the Fringer planet of Taranis, and I'll admit to being one of the players who went, "Hey, I have a whole military division just cooling its heels! Can I do something!?"

And I was super jazzed when Plot said, "sure! Do it!"

This was a hugely experimental and neat thing to do on the part of plot, and will probably go much more smoothly next time (I'm certain that there will be a next time), but permit me to break down some of the sticking points along the way, and how they went.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Session Roundup #12

A very quick check in, as I am near to passing out. We played a session of Mage: The Awakening, No Justice Like Mob Justice tonight, as run by the Wonderous Clever Shieldhaven, you know, like you do.

Learning Rotes is going to be a really good thing for us. We're all still operating on 100% improvised spells, and doing pretty well, though the bar for success is high. I blew through really _all_ of my willpower, adding dice to various things I wished to do. Mostly pulling info out of people's conscious thoughts, and a tiny bit of psychic assault. By the way, heavy Stamina was completely the way to go, because I keep spells running all the damn time.

This time, we were investigating the disappearance of an acquaintance of Ikarafox's character, Saint. Well, we could have been chasing down Banishers, but changed it up at the last minute. There was... too much to explain, but it involved a running joke about chickens, shark-ghosts (though not really), and an Abyssal cultist cannibal (really). It ended... maybe well? Well right then. We'll see if Four-Color's character, Sequela, and I wind up arrested for murder or not. We'd just better hope that the security cameras caught the part where the janitor with the crazy teeth jumped on Stands-In-Fire, then tried to eat my character's face after he'd hit her with just a little bit of psychic bashing damage...

Ah well.

Seriously though, good times.

Also, I ought to have commentary on the Portal 2 co-op, now that we've finished it, but that'll wait for a more awake time.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pwny Island, 4e-- act 1.

So, I didn't mention this in my last Roundup, but I've been playing Pony Island quite a bit also, as an Attention Eater for my normal workday. And there was a forum thread about a player who wanted to run a one-shot D&D game, 3.5e, using the pony breeds as the races. Which made me want to do the same for 4e, since it seems to me that reskinning races is a lot easier in 4e, ultimately. There are some serious complications here as far as playability, which I'll lay out in the initial.

Here's the complete list of pony breeds and their PI stats. PI was kind enough to supply base Strength, Intelligence, Agility, and Charisma scores for all of their breeds; which track pretty well to potential D&D bonuses-- except that WIS and CON are out in the cold. I'm going to attempt to convert the stats given for each race into reasonable bonuses based on a) the PI base stats as much as possible, and b) expected 4e classes. All ponies will be medium sized creatures, and there are some races, that while I list them here for completeness, I'm likely to leave out of the final conversion (ie, all of the aquatic breeds). Anyway, if you would like to read the descriptions that I'm going to be working with, you can look here

Earth Pony (your basic, no-frills pony): [IN: 7 | ST: 10 | AG: 6 | CH: 7]
Flutter Pony (flier): [IN: 5 | ST: 5 | AG: 12 | CH: 8]
Pegasus Pony (flier): [IN: 7 | ST: 8 | AG: 5 | CH: 10]
Unicorn: [IN: 11 | ST: 5 | AG: 5 | CH: 9]
Fairy Pony (flier): [IN: 6 | ST: 3 | AG: 9 | CH: 12]
Dragon Pony: [IN: 12 | ST: 12 | AG: 8 | CH: 2]
Winged Unicorn (flier): [IN: 11 | ST: 8 | AG: 5 | CH: 10]
Wishing Pony (flier): [IN: 12 | ST: 5 | AG: 8 | CH: 15]
Valkyrie: [IN: 13 | ST: 6 | AG: 13 | CH: 2]
PhoenixPony: [IN: 8 | ST: 4 | AG: 12 | CH: 10]
Kirin: [IN: 14 | ST: 6 | AG: 6 | CH: 12]
Purr Pony: [IN: 9 | ST: 9 | AG: 14 | CH: 8]
Reindeer Pony: [IN: 9 | ST: 5 | AG: 13 | CH: 13]
Mountain Pony (flier): [IN: 6 | ST: 13 | AG: 13 | CH: 8]

Aquatic ponies, either left out or for another type of campaign:

SeaPony: [IN: 6 | ST: 6 | AG: 10 | CH: 8]
ShellPony: [IN: 8 | ST: 12 | AG: 4 | CH: 6]
MerPony: [IN: 8 | ST: 4 | AG: 11 | CH: 10]
MerDragon (flier) : [IN: 10 | ST: 10 | AG: 10 | CH: 10]

Right out of the gate, we've got an issue with with fliers, because the ability to fly is Just Plain Better. Although this is a subject of considerable obnoxious debate, Fly speeds are the shit, as are potentially avoiding attacks of opportunity by flying over someone's head. Also, the chance of making the game just unplayable for non-flying PC characters, because they can't follow their flier friends, is a worry. There are certain types of campaigns that you can have with a party of fliers that you have a harder time with, using non-fliers. Earth Ponies are pretty much the humans of the world, and making them competitive will be something of a trick.

Secondly, there's how nothing in D&D is really designed for quadrupeds. I am getting around that by assuming that a Pony Game would be ponies only, and so all armor/items/etc exist in a pony-friendly version. This will be harder to justify for weapons like swords, axes, bows & crossbows, et al, unless they are mounted on the armor somehow. Ponies have the advantage of having things like hooves, teeth, and (in some cases) horns, which can be easily weaponized. Anyway, I'll deal with Pony Itemization in a later post.

I'll be using some of the ideas and versions of the powers shown for the Gritaur, here. Specifically, I am thinking I will grant flying races the following power (modified from Sabelkatten's Gritaur racial of the same name):

Take Wing Flying Pony Racial Power
With a powerful thrust of your wings you launch into the air to find a better spot from which to engage your enemies.
Move Action Personal
Effect: Until the end of your turn you may fly your speed +2. If you don't end your turn on solid ground, you glide to the ground without taking falling damage.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Not-Roundup #4 -- Also, Changeling-Stylez.

So, haven't played much of anything for the past couple of weeks apart from Spiral Knights and Portal 2. I have a couple of larger projects in the works for this blog, both of which I've mentioned here and there, so we'll see if any of those actually get done.

In the meantime, I will post instead: The Kingdoms and basic synopsis for the Theoretical Changeling: The Lost game I've been considering and considering:

Players are all Changeling-types who live in a place of a Thousand-Thousand Kingdoms, all embodying some sort of idea. Seven of the Kingdoms are available to players, as they tend to be clustered in groups of seven neighbors, even though they don't all get along. For purposes of meshing with Changeling, the Kingdoms are all located in what is more-or-less the Hedge, with Arcadia, or Avalon, as an adjunct realm, and The Kingdom Right Proper, or the mortal world, on the other side. Belonging to a Kingdom will be more-or-less analogous to belonging to a Court in the Changeling rules.

More or less Below the Kingdoms are the Shadowcities, which are reflections of things in the Many Kingdoms, and in the Kingdoms right Proper, though among its many other differences, Arcadia casts no shadow.

The Adjacent Kingdoms:

The Kingdom of Thieves -- inhabited by sneak-thieves, traps rogues, confidence men, gamblers, ragpickers, safe-crackers, card sharps, Marks who've been conned into living there, and assassins. They are exactly what you expect, for the most part, and when talking to Marks they call their Kingdom Innisfreigh. They are best aligned with the Kingdoms of Masks and Manikins, are neutral with the Kingdoms of Mendicants and Wrights, and don't get on at all with the Kingdoms of Knightly Vows and Locks and Eyes.

The Kingdom of Masks -- Also known as the kingdom of Artifice, the Masks are liars, actors, dramatists, dancers, puppeteers, stage-duellists, quick-change comedians, tightrope walkers and acrobats. They are best at seeing things that are hidden, and understand lies better than truths. They get on fairly well with the Kingdom of Thieves and the Kingdom of Mendicants, they do frequent business with the Kingdoms of Manikins, somewhat less with that of the Anvils, and are violently opposed to the Kingdom of Knightly Vows and to a slightly lesser degree, the Kingdom of Locks and Eyes.

The Kingdom of Knightly Vows-- also known as the Kingdom of True-Spoken words. The Knights are Chivalric lords, paladins, champions, honest courtiers, statesmen, judges, keepers of records, poets, and idealists. They represent the perfect ideal of a Kingdom of Paragons, and deal fairly with those about them. They mislike deceit, save in service to an oath. As one might imagine, this puts them at odds with the Masks and the Thieves, and aligns them just fine with the Watchmen and the Mendicants. They have a great deal more use for the craftsmen in service to the Anvil than the makers of Manikins, but don't seriously object to either.

The Kingdom of the Anvil-- Also known as the Wrights, these are largely craftsmen, smiths in metals and workers in wood and stone. They build things for use-- they are carpenters and tinsmiths and blacksmiths and architects, makers of tools and builders of castles, miners and lumberjacks, sculptors and shapers of clay. They are very workmanlike and dream on grand scales. They are kin with the Kingdom of Manikins, though they consider them less useful than they. They have no real alliances or enemies, though they frequently receive custom from the Watchmen, the Knights, and the Thieves. Though in the case of the latter, they always check their purses after. They have little use for the Mendicants.

The Kingdom of Manikins-- Inhabited by makers of little crafts and clockworks, they shape things into man-shapes. They are scientists and theoreticians, inventors of gadgets, locksmiths, clothiers, dollmakers and toymakers, builders of simulacra, alchemists, witches, scroungers and carvers in wood and stone, they make idols and fetishes of straw, feather, and clay, the latter medium they share with their siblings of the Anvil. Like the Anvils, they have no real alliances or enemies, though they have a particular friendship with the Ragpickers of the Thieves. They welcome the patronage of the Kingdom of Masks and betimes the Mendicants, welcome the protection of the Watchmen, and are generally ignored by the Knights.

The Kingdom of Locks and Eyes-- Those who dwell here are called the Watchmen, and they are the vigilant protectors of the Kingdoms at large. They are spies and police officers, private investigators, clerks, builders of traps, marching soldiers and honest guardsmen, vigilantes, seekers of security, builders of walls, commanders of fortresses, and other seekers of justice. They are very good at ferreting out wrongdoing and, as one might imagine, are fundamentally opposed to the Kingdom of Thieves. Their best allies are the Knights, and they tend to offer their services to the Mendicants, the Kingdom of Manikins, and the Wrights, though in the latter case it is largely in trade. They don't really get the Masks, and as such, do not trust them at all.

The Kingdom of Mendicants-- Also known as the Kingdom of Seven Tongues, it is a Kingdom of superstition, myth, and many, many temples. Here might be found supplicants, pilgrims, lay brothers and sisters of a number of Orders from every Kingdom, oracles, tellers of fortunes, mystics, readers of cards, casters of runes, bishops and cardinals, acetic monks, vestal virgins, sacred prostitutes, storytellers, lore-keepers, dervishes, Ecstatics, revivalists, and other worshippers of one god, faith, tradition, superstition, word, or another. They are also the keepers of what little Lore which belongs to the Kingdoms alone, the Rules of Other Worlds, of which there are Seven. Every Kingdom has something to serve here, and something that makes them a bit uncomfortable. They frequently operate on gifts and offerings, which is pretty much all right with everyone but the servants of the Anvil, who trend against superstition, and dislike parting with the work of their hands except to receive coin.

The Kingdom of Shadows-- Beneath all of the Realms except Arcadia, where the Faeries live, there lie Shadowcities. That said, the people of the Kingdoms do not themselves cast shadows, by and large, when light is shone upon them. Only mortals cast shadows. In the Kingdoms, Shadows dwell in their cities when their light-halves in the mortal world are asleep, or away from light. There are ways to sever a Shadow from its light-half as well, but this "freedom" for the Shadow often leads to other, more unfortunate vulnerabilities. In many kingdoms, severed Shadows are kept as indentured servants.

Arcadia, where the faeries live-- The term fey or Faerie in the Kingdoms refer only to what in the Changeling rules are called 'True Fae'. These beings dwell in Arcadia, by and large, although they frequently come into the Kingdoms for revels, or to conduct business, or whatever other reason takes their fancy. They are ruled by one queen with two faces, called Mab on the dark side and Titania on the light side. She has seven daughters, seven sons, and any number of consorts.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Session Roundup #11

Now it is time to see if Das Kainenchen actually remembers what all she's played over the past er... two weeks? The main contenders are Mage: The Awakening, Eclipse, Spiral Knights, and Portal 2, the co-op in particular.

Thursday: Mage, "No Justice like Mob Justice." -- Good session... our crazy Russian Obrimos fell into a trap set by Banishers, traded some gunfire, and wound up calling the rest of us in to help check it out. We're still all getting used to this whole Being Mages thing, but I got to use quite a lot of my awesome mind magic, so that was cool and wicked for me. Last session, we had some complications with in-character conflict, and issues what arise when premise threat actually seems like the natural thing to do-- for example, when you've all just awakened, and you're not all sure how much of the "I've got powers now" people ought to buy into. Fortunately, it got worked out, so that was good.

Eclipse-- A very odd event for Eclipse; the combat was problematic and filled with safety/rules calls, but the political plot, especially for the Aliens (non-humans) was really good. Now, if only the Imperials (my culture) could find a way out of the various kinds (some of it self-induced) of bitchery we're all embroiled in...

...Which leads me to think about politics in LARPs, and how to keep the pressure on. It's really easy to have the goals be either too nebulous and disconnected with the local matters (hey, there's this political hoo-ha on some other planet that you might care about, except that it doesn't have anything to do with anything that will ever be on screen) or too huge (OMG, the Empire is collapsing). I am not yet sure what the solution is, except to mention that keeping the overall scale small is probably a good time. That is to say-- dozens of worlds, not hundreds, and certainly not We-Lose-Billions-In-A-Rounding-Error.

That all said, I had a lot of fun, and fought much better than I was afraid I would, after 3 months of being a lazy ass.

Spiral Knights: Episode One in Games To Play With the Boyfriend All Together And Stuff! Made by the Puzzle Pirates people (Three Rings); Spiral Knights is somewhere between Gauntlet and Legend of Zelda in gameplay style. You play-- surprise!-- a little cartoon knight running around these clockwork mazes looking for exits, and getting material to craft better gear. In the meantime, you can cut down all the grass and trees. There's hp for monsters, which makes it less Linklike, but dude, health is the familiar little heart icons. Up to 4 players can do a dungeon at once; teams are assigned first-come-first-served, or you can join a friend who has gone down before you. It's a little iffy on how to get like, one chosen person and a couple of extra random people; I am hoping they make this easier in future, because the higher levels SUCK. Also, this is another example of Microtransactions taking over the world-- their mechanic is called Energy, which you need in order to go down more levels, craft items, and resurrect inside a level. Though your buddies can rez you too, with half their own life. Neither Shieldhaven or I have actually spent Real Dollaz on this game yet; we'll see what happens, as we're having quite a lot of fun doing levels together.

Portal 2 (co-op): And here's Episode Two, Throwback Edition? Remember sitting on your couch with your buddies in front of the Nintendo back in the day, playing Contra or (in the N64 days) split-screen Goldeneye? Yeah, that. You play Atlas and P-Body, two robots performing tests at the whim of GLaDOS. The potential for griefing is there, but I think it'd be more tempting in the online, remote version, rather than when you're sitting next to the person you're playing with. And the emotes when you want to celebrate solving part of a test are really cool-- shame that they seriously piss off GLaDOS. And boy, does she do everything in her power to drive a wedge between the players... mostly praising one and shaming the other. Shieldhaven was somewhat unamused by her digs at his little blue robot guy.

Speaking of which, as of this writing, Shieldhaven has beaten the single player game, but I have not. And I'd better do something about that, because he's seriously starting to creep up on my gamerscore. Can't have that now, can we?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not-Roundup #3

So, having completely failed at everything last Thursday, I am declaring this the Not!Roundup, and I'll resume regular updates on this Thursday. I have a few other projects for this blog that I want to work on too... not least of which is the next three rooms of Three Gates Prison for this project.

In the meantime, I recommend you check out Shieldhaven's second entry in the Dungeon of Three Deceits , and also Random Generators what rock and suck from D&D with Porn Stars. Yes, I am linking this here largely so that I can find it again later.

Oh yes... I wished to draw attention to one other of Haven's posts: The Strength of His Convictions, in which he puts a little more flesh on the psionic bones I maundered over in this post. I am also likely to maunder a bit more about how I want these things to work, and what systems I would base a psionic game on... I am a bit hesitant about using World of Darkness, although it is probably more suited, because I really don't like the way that one starts out at a lower base competency if they've got no dots in a given skill, than, say, in FATE. That is to say, in a modern game, I like to assume that people can do things like turn on a bloody computer and use google without having to go out of their way to spend build on same. I figure skill points should buy you real abilities, like-- I dunno, basic coding, or the ability to know your way around terminal, up to being able to build and maintain databases, program massive banks of servers, script the hell out of AI, or know like, Ternary.

Haven, Stands-in-Fire and I just got back from a LARP this weekend, so the thickness and fury of various design ideas was something to behold. Stay tuned for the off-chance that I am not a lazy ass.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Session Roundup #10

This week is notable for having been privy to the First Ever DtD World Event, and also session 2 of Mage: the Awakening

Saturday: Dust to Dust, Akathians vs. Ghuls-- So, this being the first event where I was, NoShitReally, a member of plot. The... circumstances of my arrival notwithstanding, it was really a lot of fun, and the players seemed to enjoy it quite a lot. We had some rough patches due to this being our first time working together, on the field, as a committee. However, it's really amazing to see something you've been working on for ages finally coming to life, and seeing what plays out as looked in your head, and what doesn't. I think Ritualism is the best example of, "OMG, that's just how it looked in my dream!" What is Ritualism, you ask?

Ritualism is how we do preparatory spellcasting in DtD. You have rituals that give you a number of charges of a given effect, which you can put in your focus. Each ritual has a rune, cost a certain amount of fatigue, and a backlash in case you fail the ritual. When you cast, you and up to 9 of your ritualist buddies pull dominoes (bones) from a bag, and attempt to make the sign of the ritual rune out of legal matches. As a wizard, you only have a certain number of bones you can pull from the bag when you begin the ritual. Fatigue reduces the number of bones that you can pull. So if you are working on a 5 bone ritual with a fatigue of 1, and you have 10 bones you can pull total, you've got 5 bones of leeway for matchmaking, and the next ritual you begin, you can only pull 9 bones total. Neat!

This encourages cooperative casting on one level, but also discourages it, based on how fatigue is divided amongst ritualists, and who actually gets the benefit of the effects. Plus, you have to have the ritual text prop to cast, so the text props are awesome treasure. Yay!

As for the parties themselves, Ghuls are nasty beasts-- horned human-looking dudes with very sharp teeth, who eat people and take their skills and memories. Bad times. a number of the Akathians did, in fact, get munched, including their leader, the Governor. Oops.

Our next event is on May 28th, at Indian Springs Pioneer camp in GA, and pretty much everyone should come, as it looks like it'll be a campover.Fun!

Thursday: Mage: The Awakening-- our Second Mage session, this was the one with the exposition. I think I want to think about this session more before I really post about it in detail, but I will say that picking up a second dot in Fate is def. on the table for things I want to do. Sometime after I go right for the fourth dot in Mind. I am not really familiar with World of Darkness advancement, so I don't know how hard it will be to get to Mind 5, but... omg, Mind 5. So awesome.

Also, I am looking forward to the next session of the game. Everyone's character feels very solid and real, which is unusual for a couple of sessions into a game. I don't think we've all figured out how we'll work with our abilities, and with each other, but that'll probably work itself out. Anyway. My gaming group is cool. And I'll talk more about mage... probably the Thursday after next, when we have our next session.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Session Roundup #9

No formal games this week, but Shieldhaven, Stands-in-Fire, and a couple of other friends and I went to MACE West: Cudgelcon last weekend, instead of going to the Eclipse campover. It was a lot of fun, as Haven describes here, and in addition to renewing my fondness for Magic: The Gathering, I picked up a few rulebooks.

Fiasco: looking forward to this one! The game is a rules light, GMless game played with D6es. It is intended to recreate the experience of a Cohen Brothers film. Check it out here, and I'll provide a more thorough update once we've had a chance to play it.

Savage Worlds, and Savage Worlds: Suzerain: Haven't had a chance to read these yet, but it does give me a chance to pimp the awesome Aaron Acevedo, whose art decorates the Suzerain book, and many other Savage Mojo games. Savage Worlds, incidentally, is apparently hot shit in Western NC! I was impressed.

We also played some Core 11/Besieged of Magic: The Gathering. I'm iffy on the Besieged set, mostly because I was very spoiled by the Alara block. I mean really-- thorough multi-color support, super fast deployment of creatures... omg, merfolk. It's just happy. That said, I made a pretty decent Infect deck, having played a bunch of Wither in Alara. In case you were curious Infect does the following:

Creatures with Infect deal damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters, and to players in the form of poison counters.

So Poison Counters are also a new mechanic. If a player gets 10 of them, they lose the game. Awful, right? Yeah, play a white deck with Prot. from Black and Green creatures in it, and tell me that again.

We managed to not play any Battlestar Galactica or Mansions of Madness, though they're both games I hope to pick up soon.

In the meantime, been playing all the Shadow Hearts. I love that game-- so very hilarious, and far less railroady than I remember. But doing what sidequests you can before the second disc helps with that. Speaking of which, I am very nearly to the second disc-- at 40 hours of play. Fairly straightforward play too. Huh!

The very first World Event of Dust to Dust is this weekend! After work for me!

Yes, my work is in North Carolina, and the game is in Georgia. The game starts at noon, and my work, on Sat, ends at 10 am.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dungeon Project: Expanded Room 4, and Room 5.

For the previously mentioned Dungeon Project, sector 1, and after this:

Room 4

The red lines in the hallway leading up to here are heavy, barred iron doors with locked gates, much like the ones to the cells in room 1. A DC 15 Thievery check will pick the locks.

The chamber itself contains six 10'X10' cells with heavy metal doors of solid steel. Each of them have a narrow slit at about eye-height, with a sliding panel over it. Each door has a numeral 1-6 scratched into it. If the doors are locked, it is a DC 20 Thievery check to pick them. The door to cell 5, in the south-east corner, should be locked; it contains a rough-hewn tunnel to room 5, hidden under a trap door under dirt (DC 15 Perception, DC 17 Thievery, +2 to thievery, or potentially Arcana (DC 20, you're following the malevolent feel from the cells) checks to disarm with previous successful perception rolls).

When in this chamber, an Arcana 20+ check detects a faint malevolent energy from each of the locked cells. If actually in one of the cells, the DC on that check drops to 12 for the cell one occupies. A better check under those circumstances (17+) implies that the energy is necrotic, and growing in strength.

Each cell has 1-3 silent skeletons collapsed upon the floor, or on small, wooden stools, or the like, and one Skeleton slumped against the wall on the outside of the cell. If the trap-door is triggered without being disarmed, they'll wake up and attack. I'm going with nine Tortured Skeletons, plus a Stonespawn Skeleton in its own cell, and two Skeletal Legionaries. Between them, they should drop around 2o sp total in corroded coins. One of the legionaries should be the one that was outside of the cell; this one has a large, iron key hanging from its rotted belt.

Room 5

A room that looks like it was used mostly for hiding out than a potential escape route. There is a dusty cot piled up with rat-nibbled blankets and pillows, oily rags, a lantern, a deck of old playing cards, and numerous other oddiments and living detritus. A stack of books are piled up in one corner with many pages torn out; largely, they look like lists of names with various numbers beside them. A streetwise check (DC 15) or history check (DC 17) reveals that it is a book of prisoner names. Potentially, one of these is Palambro Alieri.

One of the corners contains what seems to be a crude set-up of alchemical components from what looks like prison cookware and cutlery. There's perhaps 50 gp worth of Residuum there, and a vial of crimson aether. There is also a page that is another list of names and numbers on one side, and on the other, says the following:

"These are the ways of travel, for the lost:
--by Knife
--By Water
--By Fiery Air
--By Night
--By Stone
--By Direct Command
--By Forgetting what is True."


So I'll be doing room 3 in a separate post, sometime when I have the brains to do it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Session Roundup #8

I wanted to get the first installment of the Dungeon Project done before now, but stuff is a bit crazy IRL, and hopefully I'll be able to finish it tonight or tomorrow. In the interim, here's a (hopefully) speedy roundup:

Arcana Evolved: Played this in GA last weekend, which was pretty good. I'm pretty much a session away from level 13, which is gratifying. We did not fight Winter Wolves, which was awesome, but had an actually fairly interesting fight against bandits around a ruined city where we'd finally arrived after what seemed like forever. Also, Angels. or an angel.

So, more and more I'm being faced with the problem that D&D clerics had-- do I blast shit myself, or do I buff my friends? This time, I did both, and came to the realization that if I could cast more than one spell a round, my Magister would probably be stupidly broken. With that thought in mind, I am still taking the Quicken Spell feat at the earliest possible opportunity.

Mage: The Awakening: The first session of this game just finished, as in not more than half an hour ago. I am playing a Mastigos (mind/space) mage with an emphasis on mind, because if I can play an Evil Telepath-- particularly if I can play the Evil Telepath, which I can and am (though really, Evil is more an aesthetic in this usage)-- then of course I'm going to. Shieldhaven is the Storyteller, and wished to run our Awakenings in play, as the first thing that happens. My character's involved coming out of one of his classes to walk down a hallway of mirrors, all with his own image in them, and the figures attempting to attack him. This was... interesting, but hardly difficult to deal with. Stephen's (my character's) sense of self-mastery is pretty well developed.

Stands-in-Fire is playing a South Boston Irish doctor, Samhaine is playing an ex-russian mob guy who believes he's the incarnation of an angel, Four Color Critic is playing a grad student researcher at Tufts, and Ikara, who does not have a gaming blog, is playing a Financier. As for myself, I'm a Business student at Emerson, of all places. It's a long story, but works, I promise.

Anyway, it's very much having just started, but I adore all of the other characters, and am looking forward eagerly to the next session.

And now, on to the DtD website edits, and maybe a little more progress on my part of the Dungeon Project.

No, I can't be bothered to link anything tonight, why?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Three Gates Prison: section 1

For the previously mentioned Dungeon Project, sector 1:

I'll copy here the rules that Shieldhaven is using in his version of the dungeon, which is connected to mine:

Ground Rules

For the creation of this dungeon, I will be doing the following.
1. Using 4e rules.
2. Assuming that the scale of this map is 1 square = 10 feet. 4e, and 3.x to a lesser degree, requires space to move. The game is less fun when all of those lovely movement powers are unusable because there's nowhere to stand. Also, the tactical decisions of positioning go out the window. (If you hate minis combat, you won't understand this reasoning, but you're probably also not playing 4e.)
3. Connecting my dungeon to the dungeon Shieldhaven is writing. This particular entry is based on his above-linked version and our various conversations, and things may get changed around a bit as writing goes on.
4. Writing in story goals. While I'd like any DM to be able to plug this into a campaign without hassle, I think that defining spaces for those plug-ins and showing some cool ideas of my own are the way to make that work.
5. Rejecting any obligation whatsoever to use symbols on the map for their original purpose.
6. Statting fights for five characters of about 6th level.

The Big Idea

The core conceit of connection between Kainenchen's crypts (The Prison at Three Gates) and Harbinger's halls (The Dungeon of the Three Deceits) is that this dungeon, the one I'm writing, is connected by certain psychic strands. Barriers in one dungeon may be removed by solving a puzzle or winning a fight in the other. The specific do A to achieve B connections are the main things that I expect to see change as we go, because we haven't written everything before writing everything. See the tag at the bottom of the page that says, "you get what you pay for?"

Story Hooks

1. Six magical daggers are spread through the two dungeons. Each is imbued with one energy type. These daggers are also shaped to be keys to a certain very unusual lock.
2. There is a very powerful, very dangerous creature called the Living Shadow of Ugrazhe that has been fragmented into six beings, and can only be destroyed while in this fragmented state.
3. By activating the six waystones, portals to a heretofore-undefined Elsewhere open, and the dungeon becomes a travel node for portals.

Rules of Travel Between the Dungeons

The locations with what is traditionally a "staircase" symbol - rooms 1, 30, and 39 - are stable lines of travel. When traveling across a stable strand in either direction:
  • luminous water becomes crimson aether (dissipates if not contained);
  • crimson aether becomes nightskein;
  • nightskein becomes luminous water, which begins to lose its light again (10 round duration, as before);
  • one randomly-determined character loses a healing surge; a second randomly-determined character gains a healing surge; and
  • travel takes one standard action.

Background of the Prison

Part of the plan here is to make something that is easy to plug into whatever campaign, though for my part, I generally design dungeons to be the whole, or at least the centerpiece, of a given game. I do believe strongly that players need reasons to care about places, and they should have interesting histories that players could potentially know something about. This is largely turning out to be a statement of intent, I'll get into details later. But either way, the place is an old, dark and sinister prison. I'm sort of seeing it as set near the ocean, possibly near a delta inlet or somesuch.

Room 1

(In this instance, the 'staircase' symbol is both a stable strand and a staircase.)

This is one of the two 'official' entry points to the prison. One comes down from the stone admittance tower aboveground by way of the long staircase in the north, which leads to the room marked 1 on the map. There are 4 10'X10' holding cells in each corner with bars of wrought iron and heavy padlocks (DC 15 Thievery). Three of these cells are empty but for a hard, wooden bench, a battered tin plate, and a larger metal bowl. There are metal plates in the back walls of each, above the bench, where manacles were at one point attached; the northwest and southeast panels still have pieces of shattered manacle dangling from the plates. The fourth, where 'B' is marked on the map, contains a skeleton lying on the floor, ragged pieces of cloth still clinging to its frame. Searching the skeleton yields a sunrod and a couple of silver pieces (DC 12). Down one ratted pantleg (DC 17), there is a throwing knife-blade with a blue stone at the base of it, lashed to a stick with a bit of sinew. It is identifiable as a throwing-knife +1 (10 Arcana), and also something else (15+ Arcana) which can't be quite placed, but (20+ Arcana) perhaps something like a key.

On either side of the staircase, there are stone stands, the tops are carved into gargoyle faces with wide, gaping mouths and obsidian eyes. A DC 12 Arcana check shows a magical aura emanating from the stands, 15+ indicates that there is something like a gate or teleportation magic involved, and it's kind of icky, a roll of 20+ identifies the energy as necrotic and lightning, and gives one the indication that it is some kind of magical switch. A DC 12 perception check shows that there in a thin, horizontal slot in the back of the throat of the left hand gargoyle mouth. On a 17 or better, the PCs find small pressure blocks in the bottoms of the mouths. If both are depressed at the same time, the stable strand activates, and a sheet of wavering, opalescent-black energy conceals the hallway. If PCs search here, they can find small stones or use fragments of bone from the skeleton in the corner to use to hold down the buttons; about 10 copper pieces will work as well. Passing through this field takes the PCs to room 1 of the Dungeon of the Three Deceits. Also, it destroys whatever was in the mouths (assuming it's non-magical material like small stones; if they use something magical, then it scores it black, but doesn't destroy it) holding down the pressure blocks, reducing them to ash. If the PCs are holding the blocks down when someone passes through, the gargoyles deal 10 Necrotic and Lightning damage to those PCs. If they do it again, it will do the same amount of damage, and grant vulnerability 5 necrotic. Subsequent attempts do not stack this vulnerability.

If the throwing knife found above is inserted in the slot in the mouth of the left-hand gargoyle, it fits, but nothing obvious happens.

In the east wall, there's an alcove in which a tunnel has been hollowed by crude hand-tools.

Room 2

On the other side of a rough, rocky tunnel, this natural stone cavern allows a stream of brackish water in through the north wall, where it widens into a pool and seeps out through the southern wall. The water is very shallow, not more than 3 feet deep at the deepest, and tastes acrid and salty if drunk. In the center of the north wall, it looks like the tunneling continues, but stops about 5 feet in. The aforementioned crude implements lie on the floor, any wooden handles rotted away and the blades rusted.

Digging in the cavern wall will trigger a stealth check on the part of whoever does it (DC 17); upon failure, this will wake up an angry Geonid, and 3 level 4 lesser Earth Elementals. A perception check at a DC of 25 reveals the presence of something living in the rocks.

Near the pool (A), a black, somewhat glittering and thready material clings to the stones in fragile pieces. Perception or Arcana (DC 12) reveals it as nightskien.

Room 3 will belong to a later update.

Room 4

The red lines in the hallway leading up to here are heavy, barred iron doors with locked gates, much like the ones to the cells in room 1. A DC 15 Thievery check will pick the locks.

The chamber itself contains six 10'X10' cells with heavy metal doors of solid steel. Each of them have a narrow slit at about eye-height, with a sliding panel over it. Each door has a numeral 1-6 scratched into it. If the doors are locked, it is a DC 20 Thievery check to pick them. The door to cell 5, in the south-east corner, should be locked; it contains a rough-hewn tunnel to room 5.

And I will get to room 5 later, as I've got to dash the hellz out of here. Peace!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not-Roundup #2

So, you'll note that this is rather late, and for that I'm quite sorry. Anyway, last week was pretty much all videogames all the time, mostly Shadow Hearts: Covenant and Rock Band 3. I have to say, the third iteration of the game is so far my favorite, mostly for band customization. Also, Paradise By The Dashboard Light, by Meatloaf, is fucking epic for singing.

Tomorrow will be the AE game, which means that there will be actual Roundup content next week. In the interim, I've got Dungeon Rooms to design, and DtD writing to do.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Psychic Power and the Telepath Question.

One of the nice things (there are many) about dating a fellow gamer/GM is that you get to have long, late-night design conversations about various and sundry things. Last night, we wound up discussing what I was looking for in terms of The Truth in Yellow, the psychic horror game I am wanting to run. For this game, I am leaning very heavily towards using the Over The Edge system, although I am planning on using the Dawning Star setting. Yes, I know that DS was written for D20 Future, but the sort of game I'm planning to run isn't particularly a shoot 'em-up, while Red Truth is exactly what I'm looking for in terms of psionics for this game in specific*.

Which leads to to psionics in general, which is a special love of mine. I am a sucker for a good psionic system, though I've never yet found anything that works the way I think psionics should, exactly. Which wants to ask, well, what do I want from my brain-suckers, anyway?

*It is important to note that, although I have been maundering about Red Truth et al above, the list below is not something I intend to use in that game; Red Truth doesn't do the things listed below, as written. That said, Red Truth is effing awesome. But one can like more than one thing.

1) Psionics are different from Magic.

In my ideal system, Psi and Magic are fundamentally different, and while certain of the effects can mimic each other, the sources are not t'all the same. The primary example is Sleep. Traditionally, Sleep is considered an effect that works on the mind, whatever the source. So doesn't that make it psionic?

The answer in my proposed system is no. A mental effect is psionic only if the source of the effect is mental, not the target. Hence the difference between a pyrokinetic blast and a mage's fireball, metabolic healing and magical healing, or a telepath knocking out a target and the sleep spell.

I would not include telepathy or read minds as magic effects at all, except perhaps in a very limited, 'send message' kind of way. In these cases, what is happening is not one mind speaking to another, but an effect which simulates sound that only the intended recipient can hear.

The principal difference is that psionic energy comes from the person innately, while magic is pulled from somewhere else. To answer the question Shieldhaven just put to me, how would mages be limited at all? My thought is that the mage is limited in how much energy they can pull, and how they can pull it. Also, magic is something that has to be learned, and anyone cal generally learn it, while psions are born.

2) A Psion's lot is not a happy one.

Being a psi, using your powers, and learning to control your powers isn't easy, and is likely to take a huge chunk out of your ability to do other things. The penalty will vary based on the kind of psionics you're using. Sound risky? Should be risky. Success as a psi is freaking awesome. How to model this for different stories one wants to tell is something of a question. Not every story should or ought to be, "this is how I learned to control my powers, and these are my scars." For games that take place later in the characters' lives, perhaps a list of disadvantages linked to powers would be good, that could either be selected purposefully or randomly, though the latter runs the risk of becoming a gamble to see whether your character even survives creation.

3) Different sorts of Psi are also different.

This will require a lot more thought to cease being nebulous for me, but I think that different kinds of psi should be different skills. Pretty much as follows:

a) Telepathy -- I go into your mind with mine and affect your thoughts. I can change your mind, implant thoughts, or forbid you from thinking of a thing, though I can't make you like it. At the extreme, I can overwhelm your synapses and fry your brain. It's not particularly subtle though. I can sense thinking beings without necessarily seeing them, by 'hearing' their mental energy, if they are not trying to shield it from me, or else I am not trying to block them out. If I'm not careful, you'll wind up destroying my brain, or I'll go nuts and destroy all of yours.

b) Empathy-- I go into your mind with mine and affect your emotions. I can change the actual function of your brain much as drugs or alcohol do, by making you feel one way or another just at the moment, though I can't make you think anything in particular. I'm much more subtle than the telepath, at base. I can sense any creature which is alive and experiences emotions without necessarily seeing them, if they are not trying to shield from me, or else I am not trying to block them out. If I'm not careful, I'll go insane from everyone else's emotions, or I'll wind up driving other people to unpleasant things.

c) Telekinesis-- I move objects with my mind. With effort, I can actually sense objects that I cannot see; the more subtle, the more effort this requires. This is not easy for me. Aw shit, now I'm bleeding.

c.1) Pyrokinesis-- I generate heat energy with my mind. So... um, I set shit on fire. Go me. As for my problems, see the telekinetics.

c.2) Electrokinesis-- I generate electricity with my mind. I blow out streetlamps and can't ever wear watches. I might wipe hard drives too. But... force lightning!

d) Impression Sensitivity (Psychometry) -- I read the psychic impressions of objects. I can tell you who last touched an object, or at least what they are or were like while they were actually in contact with said object. The more information I can get from something, the more overwhelming objects are in general. (some sort of rules about how particular objects hold energy might be useful here).

Another version of Impression Sensitivity works on people at touch-- I 'read' you when you are touching me, and I can tell what you're thinking & feeling, as well as seeing a little bit of your past when I touch you.

e) Metabolics -- I heal people with my mind. I can make you-- and possibly myself-- better, stronger, and faster, with effort. I probably am also an empath though, otherwise I might fuck this up pretty badly, and wind up hurting you or myself, or healing you at a profound cost to myself.

f) Precognition-- I can see the future! I don't like being around other people who can see the future... we mess each other up. Also, this is extremely stressful, and did you know human brains aren't really built for this kind of thing? They're not.

f.1) Clairvoyance-- I can see the here-and-now at a distance! Problem is, I need something to focus on, or else it kind of hits me at random, and blacks out, you know, what I should be paying attention to. Like walking down stairs, or driving.

These are my starting place, I shall go further from there. But the brain, it storms. Storm brain, storm!

Friday, March 11, 2011

New wine in old skins.

This afternoon, Shieldhaven linked me to This Nifty Group Plan Thing, which seems like a whole lot of fun and festivity, and a thing I'll like to do. For me, this is a lovely slice of nostalgia, as my dad used to run this map as part of his half-Qasqueton & other 1e material, half homebrew dungeon. As Shieldhaven mentions, we are discussing having the dungeons be connected in some way, which should be fun. In the interim, here's the write up from the original page:

Most people that have been playing the game longer than, oh say... 15 years should recognize the rather iconic map above. Even those of you that may have cut your teeth on 3rd edition have seen it presented there. It is, of course, the dungeon originally provided in the AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide. It and the accompanying sample of play have together long been a sort of touchstone for me in the way that things like Village of Hommlet, In Search of the Unknown, Bargle & Castle Mistamere or Keep on the Borderlands are for others.

I realized something about this map and I recently. Despite it's importance to my early understanding of the game I've only ever used it for off-the-cuff, ill-prepared ventures. I've never actually sat down to stock and prep it like I now normally do. That's rather a pity, I think, because it's a well-constructed level. That secret door in room 3 (hiding somewhat in plain view and challenging the party to put the clues together to find it) is a prize in and of itself. Overlook it and you've got only a handful of standard 1st-level-dungeon-looking rooms on the top half of the map to explore. Discover, it though, and the whole level opens up.

Beyond room three one can reveal the nooks and crannies of those odd passageways and the weird little side rooms whose overall layout and construction beg the questions "what?" and "why?". Why this little bit here and that narrow passageway to nowhere there? What earthly (or unearthly) purpose is served by the three 10' square rooms that terminate the narrow halls in the south-east quarter? That series of rooms beyond the secret door is just dying to be stocked and described, is it not?

So here is what I am proposing to do and this is where those reading along can come into the picture if they so desire. I'm going to stock that thing room-by-room here on the blog at a rate of three rooms per week starting next week. I'm encouraging those reading this to do the same. At the end of this process the world will have (hopefully) several stocked dungeons based on a single, iconic map. The differences and similarities between them can be an interesting statement on the game and its participants.

I offer only some simple guidelines for this venture:

  1. Use any version of D&D, the clones or even another game (even genre) entirely to complete the dungeon.
    Provide as much or as little detail as you desire as you go.

  2. To get started add a comment to this blog saying that you're getting started and provide a link to your blog so we can all go see
  3. .
  4. You can join the fun at any time and take as long as you like doing it.

  5. Use as much or as little of the background and the few existing room descriptions associated with the map from the DMG as you like. The only requirement is that you use the above map.

  6. I'll be posting three rooms per week starting Monday, February 7th. (My first post on this will probably be whenever I get around to it.)

  7. I encourage you to not only stock the thing, but talk about your choices and dungeon-building philosophy as well. For instance, if you're using randomly generated results, talk about why. If not, also talk about why. Will it be a themed dungeon? The value in this project to me is in hearing about what a particular DM likes as well as seeing it directly applied.

  8. Will there be winners? Will there be prizes? Everybody is a winner but there won't be prizes.

  9. If you want to play but don't yet have a blog, start here.