Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5th Edition

So, now is probably one of the most exciting times to be a gamer. A new edition is on the horizon, and if all indications are correct, it'll be one greatly influenced by the old school mentality.

It may not be old school however, but I digress. If it's more old school then Pathfinder (which, PF is not) then I'll be happy. Nothing against 3.x or PF - they're just not for me.

In any case you can see there is an EXPLOSION on the WotC boards with lots of discussion. This is pretty awesome, as it's almost like the rebirth of a community.

It's also a shell shock for many longtime 4e partisans. People who really don't like the game have come back out of the wood work and have started stating their opinions. Some may be trolling, but others are completely valid.

I'm going to be watching these boards over the next while, as well as the 5e open beta. I don't expect it to overturn my love of 0e/1e/2e/BECMI but hopefully there's something to like.

Friday, September 16, 2011

So, no posts in a while

Well, I just stopped by to tell people I haven't been able to post in a while.

Well, maybe not 'unable' to, just that I had been doing other things.

For one, I've been working my butt off, full time to over full time at my job.
I've been hanging out with my friends, playing our weekly games as well as consuming a wee bit too much liquor (I've just recently turned 21).

In any case, I suppose I'll get back to writing on this blog eventually. Until then, hold out hope.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gygax Test

Austin Shirra took the Hardest Gary Gygax Quiz in the World and got 70%!

You are a Gary Gygax Champion. If knowledge of the minutiae of Gary Gygax's life translated to political power, you would be the satrap of a continent-sized province, owing allegiance to no one (except maybe that Grognardia guy).

Paladin Code: You completed this quiz without using Google.

70% on my first try. Not as good as James at Grognardia, but not so bad if I don't say so myself!

What are meaningful choices?

I often go over to the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons board. This is not because I have any interest in Fourth Edition, but rather because I've taken somewhat of a liking to seeing people's head explode over the Legends and Lore columns written by Mike Mearls.

The vast majority of contractors to these columns are raving fanboys. They also presume things about Dungeons and Dragons as a brand, as well as past editions, that are quite false. Its often amazing to see how people there can be so wrong about the hobby as a whole and the role of it's flagship brand.

However, something was said that got me steaming.

  "Balance isn't just encounter balance, it's presenting players with a wealth of /meaningful/ choices, class and race might be a starting place, but you need a lot more than that."

The passage above was written by one, Tony_Vargas of the WotC boards. Now, what about this stirs me up and makes me shake my head? Well, there seems to be an implication on what 'meaningful choices' are and what they are not. To say the least, I disagree full heartedly with this implication.

So, what are meaningful choices to Mr. Tony_Vargas? Well, it seems that they are a number of feats, powers, skills and other class mechanics - and only that. I find this a repugnant notion, and one that is antithetical to role playing.

What about in game choices? Is it not a meaningful choice to choose to save the princess or not? Or to believe the begger giving you a rumor rather then throwing it away as a lie? Why must Power A or Power B be necessarily a 'meaningful choice' while others are not?

I agree that race and class are the base of the 'meaningful choices' that you get in Dungeons and Dragons, as well as the idea that more then simply that is needed. However, what those things that are needed is something that I'd dispute.

You see, the beauty of the older editions (0e, 1e, 2e etc) is that they didn't offer too many mechanical choices beyond the basics. The player would make choices based on the present action of the game, not based off of the idea of 'character build' (I shiver at the mention). Should my fighter jump up on the table to get a better vantage point? What if I cut the cord to the chandelier, and have it fall on top of my foes? What if I try to bargain with my enemies (and I don't mean some BS skill roll either)? What if I betray my employer at the last minute, or if I strike and alliance with the orc band?

Conversely, it seems that 'meaningful choices' in later editions boils down to: What feat should I get? What about power? Prestige class/Paragon Path? What mechanics should I use?

Now, I'm not suggesting that the meaningful choices as I see them are impossible to be addressed in modern games. That would be deceptive. However, it would be equally (if not more) deceptive the suggest that the focus of later editions are on such meaningful choices that involve the present action of the game (chess board battle tactics aside) rather then the "build" of a character. (By the way, characters are not built - they are developed - and that is a topic for another post)

Don't believe me? Ok, I'll give you a rundown.
When I speak with my friends who enjoy Fourth Edition about said edition, what are the topics of the conversation? It's about feats, about power combinations and other mechanics. What conversations, oh non-believer, do  you have when discussing 4e with friends? What about the WotC boards? The conversations mostly come down to, once again, mechanics.

I'm not saying mechanics is all that bad of a topic. Hell, mechanics get talked about a bit with older editions as well. However, the overwhelming focus of conversation regarding 3e/4e are on mechanics. This is not so with older editions. 

Greyhawk family session 2

So, last Friday we had another session of my Greyhawk game. Most of the time, of course, was spent in the dungeon.

The group managed to avoid holding on to coin that would eventually drive them mad, fight some orcs and see their first PC die.

Now, I'm not a killer DM. Hell, I don't always get that much of a pleasure from killing PCs. This is not because I have a problem with the PC killing in and of itself (I don't kill PCs. If it's not bad luck, then it's the PC's own actions that get him/her there), its that I dislike the whining that may follow. My main group knows not to do this, and to expect death to be fairly final (except with raise dead), but this campaign is primarily made up of my younger brother's friends.

This is not to say that they are all bad in any way. Hell, it's not even that some of them are newbies! The one guy who hadn't played before EVER was one of the better role players of the group. However, among those who had played before, I could see that they much more used to a player safe game: Third Edition and Fourth Edition.

Well, it's gonna be a learning experience for them.

So, for the lack of posts

The last week or two since I've started this blog has been a bit hectic, so I haven't been able to post much. I probably wont be able to post reliably again until the end of the week, as my work will keep me from doing so.

Now, those who know me over the net know that my work allows me a lot of leeway regarding internet activity and downtime... the problem is, my work PC filters pages, making it impossible to update from work. Had this not been the case, many more posts would be posted by now.

Keep tuned. This blog wont die so quickly.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Finally, a reader! And, Hoberton as well.

So, I knew that having a link to my blog in my signature (on various forums) would be bound to attract someone to read.

So, Havard suggests that I talk about campaigns settings. Wonderful, and so I shall!

Now, I just started running a First Edition campaign with my younger brother, a few of his friends and a few of mine last night. I started them out in a small town of my own creation in the world of Greyhawk.

The town of Hoberton was built within the last half century by simple farmers somewhere near the boarder of Keoland and the Yeomanry. The farmers lived in relative peace for a while until their livestock began to disappear. It was a slow thing at first, but grew oppressive over time. It became clear that a tribe of orcs and other creatures were the cause of this as the attacks grew more bold. Eventually, even the outlaying farms of the area have been attacked in full.

Unknown to most of the townsmen (except the local Tavern Keeper, a former adventurer himself), just ten miles north of their little village are the ruins of a small castle built abandoned for the better part of the last five centuries.

After the Rain of Colorless fire, the Suloise people escaped east into the Flanaess. One of the first strongholds they built was just north of the modern day town of Hoberton. For reasons unknown, the keep was abandoned and left to rot.

Humanoids began to take refuge in the ruins of the keep, seeking a safe shelter from the dangers of nearby civilization. To keep hidden, they began to construct a series of tunnels beneath the keep in hope of deterring adventurers.

Little do the humanoids know that the Suloise people who built the keep left more of their magic behind then they took with them.

So, this is where the PC's come in to play. There are rumors of the ruins, and of great treasure to be found among them. What harm could a little exploration do?