Blast From The Past

To my surprise, Jack asked to continue his D&D game today. After a bit of discussion, though, it became clear that while he wanted to role-play, he really didn’t want to play D&D. He wanted a game that played faster, with simpler mechanics, with an easier-to-understand character sheet, and with more focus on narrative/free-form play than tactical, map-based encounters. He still wanted canonical elves and dwarves in an orc-killing world that would be familiar to a World of Warcraft player, but he didn’t want encounter powers, dice roll modifiers, healing surges, multiple (and different) actions per round, or ten or … Continue reading Blast From The Past

Monsters & Minions

As part of the fight at the Bridge of Four I threw a wave of thirty-two goblins at four heroes. Thirty-two goblins. That number is pretty staggering for a number of reasons. Those goblins were matched against first level characters, who weren’t greatly challenged by the attack, which says a lot about the power level of starting characters (and the importance of taking advantage of defensive terrain!). But more interesting, to me, is how easy it was to run that mob of monsters. A weakness of many RPGs is a failure to scale. Monster details that make individual creatures interesting … Continue reading Monsters & Minions

The Core Of The Matter

So how is this newfangled Essentials Rules Compendium holding up to actual play? Mechanically, the rules are doing just fine. Everything seems to be fitting together without contradiction or error, which is what you’d expect of this revised-but-don’t-call-it-Version-4.5 rules set. The rules are clear when you read them in advance of play and you go into your session with high confidence that you know what you’re doing. That’s where it gets tricky, and it has little to do with the clarity of the Rules Compendium. It has everything to do with how information is organized an how different people learn. … Continue reading The Core Of The Matter

Arnath Marches Campaign #1 of 6 — Night March

After several weeks of researching and blogging and rules reading and counter clipping and character creating and adventure writing … we actually played D&D tonight. And I thought it was pretty damn entertaining. Andrew and Dave rolled out four first level characters. Andrew introduced Cleitus (human slayer) and Adrial Ghost Walk (Eladrin wizard), while Dave brought Fengrim Farhammer (Dwarf cleric) and Lucan Aindenn, (Elven rogue … and  a bit of a clubfoot as it turned out). Captain Cragmoor’s company is on the march, but rain has turned the roads to mud and washed out the ford where the army had … Continue reading Arnath Marches Campaign #1 of 6 — Night March

Counter Attack!

I must own hundreds of RPGs, so the only thing more ridiculous than buying new ones at this point is buying new RPG accessories (of which I also have hundreds). So you can guess what I did. This stuff actually showed up when I was deathly ill, so I didn’t have much chance to noodle with it until today. Here you see two counter collections from Fiery Dragon — Battlebox 4th Edition, and Counter Collection Heroic 1 — along with a GM set of 4e Condition Tokens from Litko and magnetic Gamemastery Combat Pad from Paizo (for tracking initiative). Not … Continue reading Counter Attack!

Nerd Rage!

(Editor’s note — Andrew wrote this in email, but it really deserves an airing here on the blog, so I’ve reproduced it under his name, to his eternal shame and embarrassment. Thoughts and insights are his, editing mistakes and snarky pictures and captions are mine. –PRO) I’ve been holding off commenting until I completely read through both books, and created my character.  Well last night I finished up the books and started creating my character. Here are some poorly organized thoughts on 4E: -THEY TOTALLY NERFED DUAL WIELDING (Looks like Cleitus suddenly switches to a BattleAxe? What gives?????) -NO MULTIPLE … Continue reading Nerd Rage!

The Essentials Have Landed

My Amazon box o’ D&D was waiting for me when I got home this evening. I haven’t had time to do much more than glance at the books but first impressions are favorable. Big type, lots of white space in the layout, nicely illustrated (where illustrated at all — the books look pretty crunchy, without a lot of fluff). Much will depend on how well-indexed the books prove to be. I spotted a glossary in one book, which is a good sign. The Essentials books are digest-sized, and soft-backed. They may fall apart with repeated use, but that would mean … Continue reading The Essentials Have Landed