Friday, December 19, 2008


GOLD: Episode 1 (SD) from David Nett on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New (old) Book of the week

Even though I haven't been playing, I still shop for books and here is the coolest one I received lately. Oriental Adventures was Gygax's take adventuring using Asian cultures. It just arrived and I am looking forward to reading it. BTW I got it off of PaperbackSwap.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Finals are hell.

I been so busy with school, my finals and the holidays that I haven't had the time nor the inclination to write anything new or even play for that matter. But no worries so new content is in the pipe.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Guild Season 2 is here!

Finally, Season 2 of "The Guild" is here. "The Guild" is a story about a World of Warcraft (WoW) party who ends up meeting in real life and what happens when you mix your gaming life with your real one. Follow the link below to watch episode 1 on MSN Video.

Season 2 - Episode 1: Link the Loot
Season 2 - Episode 1: Link the Loot

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Big Bad Blue Club

One of my favorite "primitive" weapons is the gunstock club from Last of the Mohicans seen above. Watching Chingachigook just devastate Magua with it always gives me great pleasure. I am wondering if anyone would care to suggest D&D stats for this weapon. I really would love to hear your opinions. Please don't feel like you have to limit your answers to one edition either i.e. 1e, 2e or 3.5, all editions are welcome here!

Grab the book closest to you!

This is traveling around Facebook and I thought it was fun.

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence in the comments.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Here's mine:
"She clawed at Dandra's mind as if she could rake the image and memories away."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Someone found it! (Put a APB out on this book! part II)

I would like to thank Derek for finding the book I discussed in my post Put an APB out on this Book! It is The Cross-Time Engineer by Leo Frankowski. Now I just have to buy a copy :)

One Scary Looking Dude!

Next time you want to add some mean looking primitives to you game I suggest you watch Apocalypto. If you look closely you can see that those are human mandibles used as his vambrace. Think of the look on your player's faces when you describe this guy.

Professional D'n'D League? Watch "GOLD"

Here is the prologue to what I think will be a great show. It takes place two years before the rest of the show.

What if D&D was a international professional sport, on par with baseball or football (read soccer).

GOLD: Prologue (SD) from David Nett on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Adventures of Bobo the Flaming Sphere

When I used to play a wizard, I loved this spell and once used a persistent version to chase a group of marauding pirates from a port village (not all by myself of course). Luckily the village was made of stone and the buildings had tile roofs. The spheres ability to jump 30 feet and roll over obstacles less than 4 feet made it extremely useful. I made it hop from tiled roof to tiled roof dislodging pirates along the way. Nothing like being chases by a five foot rolling ball of flame.

For the game's purposes my character stayed in one central location while I moved a flaming sphere mini around the map. For some reason the sphere took over as the leader in the action, the rest of the party followed behind pushing the pirates before them. My DM at the time thought it was so funny that the sphere took on a personality of his own that he ruled that the rolling sphere was to have eyes, hands and a mouth. For some reason the sound he gave him as he rolled through the city was a guttural BOBO!

Flaming Sphere
Evocation [Fire]
Drd 2, Sor/Wiz 2

V, S, M/DF
Casting Time:
1 standard action

Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Effect: 5-ft.-diameter sphere
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: Reflex negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

A burning globe of fire rolls in whichever direction you point and burns those it strikes. It moves 30 feet per round. As part of this movement, it can ascend or jump up to 30 feet to strike a target. If it enters a space with a creature, it stops moving for the round and deals 2d6 points of fire damage to that creature, though a successful Reflex save negates that damage. A flaming sphere rolls over barriers less than 4 feet tall. It ignites flammable substances it touches and illuminates the same area as a torch would.

The sphere moves as long as you actively direct it (a move action for you); otherwise, it merely stays at rest and burns. It can be extinguished by any means that would put out a normal fire of its size. The surface of the sphere has a spongy, yielding consistency and so does not cause damage except by its flame. It cannot push aside unwilling creatures or batter down large obstacles. A flaming sphere winks out if it exceeds the spell’s range.

Arcane Material Component
A bit of tallow, a pinch of brimstone, and a dusting of powdered iron.

The text used in this post is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.

My Turn Behind the Screen, Part IV

It has been awhile since I have updated my current run as DM. I guess that it has been going so well that I haven’t felt the need to regale you all with tales of it. We left our players in the first of 4 crystal towers, fighting both the undead and living enemies.

The players learned quickly about dealing with the mindless undead. They swiftly set up gauntlets for the skeletons and zombies so that they could destroy them with limited risk. The party suffered their worst injuries so far in a battle with three shadows. Soon after that an encounter with a wraith left the party seriously imperiled. I am starting to think that stat damage is a deal breaker at low levels. The party was having some trouble and no way of recovering the strength damage.

The party did subdue an orc in their battles. He confirmed their suspicions about there being multiple groups battling for control of the towers. The orc was helpful until the party started arguing and discussing how they would kill him. In a last courageous effort the orc yelled his defiance and attacked only to die under the repeated blows of our heroes. Once the orc died and the stairway issue was resolved (There was some confusion on my part as I read a stairway incorrectly and thought they party had reached the top level. That was swiftly remedied), the party moved to the next level. To their surprise they ran into a grizzly bear and his Thorn master. A battle ensued and even with prep time the thorn had a disappointing run, firing sleep arrows past the bear and into the party. Sadly, the heroes hit by the thorn’s arrows were immune to sleep. The bear was defeated and after some rule checks and die rolls, for battling while standing on top of the bear, the thorn was also defeated.

By examinaing the corpses they discovered that the thorn was twisted by evil magic as was the grizzly bear. Inside the room the party found a half finished wood font, fey runes inscribed on the rim, a saucer like bowl of dark wood leaned against it. The party used their knowledge of the arcane (and everything else they could roll for) to attempt to determine the nature of the liquid in the font. As close as their studies could bring them was that a positive energy and possible healing powers infused the water. The chosen guinea pig (elf fighter) used the bowl and drank a dose of the water, lo and behold damage was healed and the earlier stat damage was repaired. Even with that timely blessing there seemed to be more to that mystical water then has been discovered. The party dosed themselves and packed the remaining liquid into bottles with the arcanist (read Warmage) remembering to refill the font before they left the thorns chambers.

The party had a little difficulty with a party of well disciplined and highly trained orcs in their next encounter. The rear members of the orc band threw javelins over the head of the front line attackers with the Orc Sergeant bellowed and bolstered their moral. The running battle took two rooms and drew reinforcements from a third area. The battle was done and the party looked around and realized the first tower was cleared with only a prisoner left to interrogate. The orc prisoner, scared to the point of pissing himself, answered any question placed to him. The party was able to put more names to their foes and the elves finally recognized the name of the their undead enemy. Childhood stories flashed through their memories and visions of an evil elven spellcaster, that killed his own noble family with his heinous experiments haunted their thoughts.

After coup de' grace-ing the orc, the party was left looking at a bridge that the living creatures were defending; they found themselves deeply in need of a rest before moving forward. During the last combat the Elf fighter noticed a hidden door and the party went to explore. Looking into this room, it was stocked with rations and water, apparently the towers original occupants had found a way to store food for long periods of time without spoiling. The party searched the room and hiding their tracks behind them they moved into the large storage room. The door secured the party took to eating, recovering and preparing for the battles ahead.

As they rested dreams of a three eyed, three armed, three handed, three fingered creature disturbed the party’s cleric/healer. The visions of the three cold eyes over a gaping maw was enough for him to inform the rest of the party of the possible threat. The party did not know if this was a warning from the cleric’s god or a spell cast by their enemies to confound them and make them fearful. Secure in their courage and faith they moved forward crossing the bridge to the new tower the visions of evil beings lingered in the back of their minds.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Put an APB out on this book!

I am trying to find the title of a book I read sometime around the age of 10. So I am guessing it was written in the 1980’s. I cannot, after a long and exhaustive search, find anything about this book. I know it was part of a popular series. It was loaned to me by a friend who does not remember the title either and I only read the first book in the series, leaving me very little to go on.

Here is the description of our perpetrator:

It is a Science fiction novel, a couple hundred pages long, about a man who is transported back in time by accident. If I remember correctly he has a common name like John or Richard. He arrives in Europe in the middle ages and in the middle of winter. Here he meets a barefoot monk who’s “feet are warmer then his hands” and gets into a fight with a knight. One of the parts I remember the most clearly is when the protagonist goes shopping for armor and weapons. He finds a folded steel saber or scimitar with a diamond edged blade. At that point the book flashed to the people monitoring him from the future; apparently, they had agents go back in time and plant items to help the protagonist. They say something to the effect of the “We planted the sword and if he had gone to another armor shop he would have found a set of full Turkish plate his size.” The protagonist knows a bit about history and fencing and I believe he is pretending to be a knight on a quest by the end of novel.

Please if you know this book, leave a comment and let's capture this criminal!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

DING! 100 Hits

I just passed 100 hits on this blog! YEAH FOR ME!

And Thanks to all of you!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day draws near!

Cthulhu For President

LoTS: Legend of The Seeker premier

Legend of the Seeker just finished it's two hour premier here in South Carolina. Did you watch it? What did you think? LoTS is based on a series of novels by Terry Goodkind. The series, The Sword of Truth, is the adventures of Richard the Seeker and his pursuit of the evil despot Darken Rahl. I never read this series of novels and I have heard mixed reviews from friends about them. The series spans 11 novels so far and I am unaware of a scheduled ending point.(I could be wrong) I thought the show had a interesting premise and strong archetype characters which people could identify with. The cinematography was reminiscent of Hercules and Xena and considering Sam Raimi is responsible for all three that is not such a big surprise. I thought they really tried to cram in a lot of events into the first two hours, maybe too much. I am not sure if lightning will strike a third time for Mr. Raimi and make this show a hit but both Hercules and Xena ran for six seasons and enjoyed a very devoted following. For some reason I am left unimpressed with LoTS. The premier time slot for SC was eleven to one in the morning, so my opinion may be jaded by my fatigue. I guess South Carolinians are not the target audience. But if you did watch the show in your respective time zones, please let me know what you thought, especially if you have read the books.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Dear Readers,

I recently met a gentleman (well, I really just talked to him online) who had decided to relieve himself of a large part of his D&D collection. (1e, 2e, 3e, 3.5e) This was due to a “shortage of shelf space and a recent and complete conversion to 4e.” When I first spoke to him I was a recipient of some of his collection’s initial culling. Unknowingly, I asked that if he had more items and that I would gladly take them off his hands. He responded that he did and planed to make them available soon. (Shipping gets expensive) So in comes my “Hail Mary” pass, I asked if we could deal directly with each other, instead of within the confines of the previous middleman. (This would allow me first pick on every item instead of getting the scraps) Luckily, I didn't have to resort to my superior negotiation skills. Which in this case, would of consisted of whining and saying please a lot. The gentleman agreed to allow me first crack at the remaining titles. We then arranged a set price for each item and he emailed me a list. I perused the list and I am still smiling because there were books on there I have never even had a chance to look at much less use in a game. I emailed him back and I told him I would take it all! I will not discuss specifics but I can say that this deal has demolished a significant portion of my Amazon wish list. Plus, there is a bonus. The gentleman’s wife, who is from the city in which I live, is visiting family here this weekend. Since she will be here anyways he would forgo shipping and she would bring the books down with her and we can arrange to meet. How awesome is that, an entire shelf of materials driven to the city in which I live for a very reasonable price. I can not seem to thank this man enough, so here I go, one more time… Thank you Pat for your generosity!

A Little Motivation.

Thanks to CROM

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sometimes I like to stir it up a little, especially with short campaigns. They give one the opportunity to bust out all the random ideas and plots that float around inside one’s head without the players or the DM having to commit to them for a period longer than a few sessions. My personal favorite is my RPG Turducken. A real Turducken is a chicken stuffed into a duck, which is then stuffed into a turkey and cooked. So for my RPG Turducken, I blend a little Sci-Fi, maybe some mutants (my TMNT&OS comes in handy for ideas), into a high-fantasy setting (D&D etc.), and finally a dash of some of my old Street Fighter stuff. So the characters are Mutant Street fighters in a high-fantasy setting. This is also the reason I collect RPGs like a cook does recipes. Every once in a while it is good to blow the dust off those old games and take another look even if its just for inspiration.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Look in the phonebook under "Wizard"

It happened to me with Firefly and it is happening again! Just as I find a show that I really like and I watch a episode or two, I find out the show which I am so excited about had already been canceled. The TV show The Dresden Files, based on the books by Jim Butcher, is about a wizard who hangs up his shingle in Chicago. Harry Dresden, Wizard, is played by Paul Blackthorne most recently on The Lipstick Jungle. The show plays out like a pulp detective story complete with dishy gals and “tough cookie” types. The magic and “otherworldly” forces which Harry employs and often battles against must be keep secret from his Police cohorts, since they hire him on as a consultant for all the “weird” cases. One of the things I thought was most amusing is that Harry uses a drumstick as a wand and a hockey stick for a magical staff. How cool is that?

Now I am not going to blather about the particulars on how or why the show was canceled, needless to say it was. Now, so much like I did with Firefly, I will watch all the episodes as fast as I can so I won’t have time to mourn the loss. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have not had the chance to read the books yet and from what I hear the show is a pale comparison.

You can currently watch episodes 1-12 here on Hulu

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


If you haven't seen it yet and you have fond memories of The Legend of Zelda I highly recommend taking a look at Legend of Neil. Much like the song Centerfold by J. Geils Band where his fond childhood memories are striped away, Legend of Neil does the same to Zelda. Created by Sandeep Parikh, better known as Zaboo from The Guild, it is a ribald and ridiculously funny journey of "every-man" Neil as he becomes trapped in Hyrule and must take Link's place in the quest to defeat Ganon. I say it is a must see for anyone who enjoys the unforgiving satirization of pop culture.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


At the moment I am re-reading The Dark Elf Trilogy so I thought this would be apropos.

10 reasons why I will always love the drow:

10) They’re EVIL.

9) They have innate magical resistance.

8) Zaknafien

7) Nothing strikes fear in a adventurer like a drow raiding party.

6) The Wand of Viscous Globs.

5) Who wouldn’t want to ride around on a giant, wall-climbing lizard?

4) Snake-headed whips are cool

3) Jarlaxle

2) Everyone loves it when they turn good.

1) Drow women are tough and give all the orders.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Guerrilla RPG: Take the Game from the Players

You wake up, the smell of smoke and burnt flesh almost chokes you. Your head is pounding, you force your eyes open and try to sit up. You raise your hand to your face and notice it is covered with blood. You try to stand and notice the bodies littering the ground around you. You cough, your lungs are burning. You crawl to a nearby puddle. As you cup your hand and reach towards the dirty water, you notice your reflection. It is a face you have never seen before. Who are you? You try to remember your name but cannot. You look around at the devastation that surrounds you. With abject terror you hear a voice saying “Who am I?” You look around startled at the strange croaking voice, and then you realize, it was yours.

Guerrilla RPG: I have used that previous description in a couple guerilla role playing games. I have premade character sheets for the players with only the briefest of information. I keep in my possession a full character sheet with character history. The player’s job now is to find out who she is, what has happened, and my personal favorite who she was. The best part is this style works with any RPG and any setting.

This game style is rather GM intensive and you would have to gather some rather open role-players. I have found that this style can offer a role-playing intensive game with a lot of superb PC interaction, moral quandaries, and if the character’s history is sufficiently horrible possibly some psychological damage.

Heel vs. Heal: A tale about a player and their wolf.

My girlfriend is playing in a game I am DMing and this leads to questions about rules while I am trying to go to sleep. I don’t mind really, I am just glad she is playing. The following is just a funny little anecdote about new players and what they hear.

The party is in combat with a small, vicious fey creature and his very large, vicious bear. A few people are wounded and the Druid/Rogue is in the back of the party, away from the action, due to an earlier strength draining encounter with a shadow. The Cleric is out of healing spells and someone reminded her that she can “heal”. She chimes up “I heal him”. “Ok roll the dice.” That is one of her cure light wounds (CLW) spells. A round later “I heal him again.” That is two cure light wounds spells, she only has two in her inventory at this point. Another player falls back wounded, who would of thought a bear would do this much damage, and she says “I heal him too.” I look at her “How?” “You have no more CLW spells.” She replies “Spells, I thought I was using my heal skill?” “No, you were using your spells” “But the Favored Soul guy is ‘Healing’ stuff. How do you heal stuff without using your healing?” “That is through spells” I respond. “Can I use my heal skill anyways and oh, my wolf can heal too?” I look at her “Huh?”

At this point I am distracted by another player and I honestly thought she was pulling my chain, until we got home. We are lying in bed and she asks me about the differences in feats, skills, castings, etc and I go on to describe the differences. She brings up that often the Cleric will say “I heal you for this amount of damage.” “Why doesn’t he say I cast CLW?” My answer is not very helpful “I don’t know. I think it is because we all know what he is doing when he says that” Once again she brings up the “Heal.” She explains it to me that it upset her she could not find any spell that said heal on her character sheet but she could find the heal skill, so she thought she was “healing” people with that.
Here comes the kicker, She then says “Well, my wolf can heal too.” My response for the second time that day is “Huh?” “It says it on his sheet, under tricks; you told me to write down heal.” “At this point I am trying not to laugh “I said heel, not heal, darling.” She starts cracking up; she explains that, during the game, it was making her furious that we were not letting her wolf heal people.
(related here with the express permission of my girlfriend, thank you:)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why I hate ebay!

I hate to lose. I am a competitive person and I have found that I can no longer allow myself to shop on eBay. I get very, very upset. One part of me knows that items will be back and that deals will come and go. But each one for me is the last. I will never see it again. Every role-playing item that slips from my fingers wounds me and I hate it.

I am not someone who bargains well because I don't want to have my pride force me to walk away from an item I want. Maybe that makes me a sucker? My last loss hurt the most; I lost a full collection of 15 1e books in great condition. Money was tight that week.

Now, I will get stuff for the “Buy now” price and avoid the pain. Have you had similar experiences? GAME ON!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Dragon Dowager Lassanthra Dalgren

This is a bit on Zinthalion's grandmother:

38 years ago

The Lady Lass was 50 years old, a widow and the head of the minor noble house of Dalgren when a flight of marauding dragons attacked the capital city. While the battles raged, most of the city was evacuated to include her only son and heir Samthalion. She refused to leave and stayed in the house with her two most loyal and oldest servants. As the city burned most of the defender’s congregated within the palace walls, other’s hid in basements or the sewers. Lass ordered a chair placed on the upper most roof of the house, known as widow’s walk, where she could see most of the city. Her servants begged her to leave or to hide within the crypts beneath the house but once again she refused. The dragons had not reached her house yet. Her Late husband’s high-backed chair was placed on the walk and Lass ordered the servants into the crypts below. They complied and moving towards the stairs they saw the Lady Lass place a pillow on the seat and gracefully sit down as if she were to hold audience.

The rest of the story is a bit blurred due to only a few people seeing what exactly happened, they being too frightened to recall most of the details, and Lassanthra refuses to give a full account of what happened next. People fleeing say they saw her sitting as cold and regal as a marble statue. For a half a day she sat, when at dusk one dragon had broken off his looting and set his eyes upon house Dalgren. His fly over revealed the odd sight of the old woman sitting in the throne-like chair upon the walk. One can only assume that curiosity caused the dragon the land upon the edge of the walk, tearing the roof stones up and causing the timbers of the roof to groan under his great bulk.

All that is known from that point on is that there was a conversation, lady and dragon. People fleeing recall the strange sight of the dragon and the Lady Lass perched upon the rooftop speaking. Reports are that all through the night the lady and the dragon talked and as the sun rose the dragon left his perch. House Dalgren remained untouched. The battle raged for another two days. Finally the dragons taste for destruction was sated and with full bellies rose into the sky. Almost half of the city had been burned or destroyed by pillaging dragons searching for loot but not one dragon had attacked House Dalgren.

As the story spread, the tale brought the Dragon Dowager into being. It was often asked “What woman could be so vicious that she could scare away a dragon?” House Dalgren was able to help feed the populace and rebuild the city with their trade contacts and un-plundered wealth. This caused the elevation of the house to one of the most powerful families in the nation. It is not know what the lady and the dragon talked about, what was offered or what promises were made to have the dragons spare the House of Dalgren. The King, upon the houses elevation, ordered a silver dragon's head be added to the Dalgren’s sable coat of arms. They are the only family in the Kingdom to be allowed a dragon on their standard other then the royal family.

My Turn Behind the Screen, Part III

This is the email I sent to my players for a quick recap since we play my campaign every other Sunday:

Well Met Adventurers!

Time for the re-cap:

Arriving at Silden-Yar “The City of Bridges": Silden-Yar is actually two cities separated by a river, tall bridges cross to the other side. Their exceedingly high arches are remnants of an age past. Silden is the larger and more prosperous of the two. While Yar is slowly being reclaimed by the marsh surrounding it and respectable people have long abandoned it. Tired from the road and running out of money, you find an inn in Silden that caters to adventuring/mercenary types. Bedding down in the inn seemed easy enough, until the late night appearance of the push gang. Having paid the Innkeeper enough to watch out for your small band he gave you the only escape route, through the common room and kitchen and out the back. Trapped by the buildings surrounding the inn you took the only path available, which lead to the front of the inn. Peering around the corner you could see the gang’s leader waiting. During your next attempted escape, perhaps it would not be the best idea to let the fiery-eyed Cleric announce his presence with intimidating display of swordsmanship. Neither was it a good idea killing the bully-boys (whose compatriots may or may not be gunning for you), but oh well, luckily for you the city guard showed up when they did.

The speed at which you were arrested, processed and placed in front of the Lord of the City of Bridges , whose cold eyes and serious lack of a sense of humor still gives you chills, made your head spin. It seemed that this was a well rehearsed maneuver, which also makes you think you were not the first group to be "employed" using this method. What about the seeming absent-minded sycophant Simkin. Though he tries to hide it behind his facade of mindless obeisance you could see a feral intelligence in his eyes. He looked at each one of you and wrote your names onto your charter (which you have noticed will not tear burn or otherwise be marred). At least now you're a legal adventuring band employed by the crown and you can give all who pass your group’s current fearsome title, Troupe #27.

Onward to the Forest and the mysterious ring of stones: After speaking with the tribe of Half-elves, perhaps they forgot to tell you that when walking the forest at night, they would often walk into the standing stones' clearing and have no idea how they arrived there. Oddly, the trail behind them remained the same. What was the darkness that grabbed your cleric and drug him away causing the rest of you to follow, was it a mindless thing grabbing a random person in the forest? Or perhaps was it after the black crystal shard that Simkin gave you along with your mission kit?

Whatever it was, it did its job and having been transported by the stones, you are now wandering through these glowing crystal towers. The horrid occupants seemingly divided between living and dead and each room shows signs of recent battle. Will there be more like the creature you last fought, the animated pile of dead skin, which was slowly flaying a hobgoblin when you interrupted it? The seeming contention of undead and living makes you wonder if perhaps, there is dissension in the ranks of those aligned against you? But who and what they are still eludes you. This lack of knowledge leaves you worried and wondering why you are here, if you can reverse the gate that brought you and in the end find you way home.

See you all Sunday! GAME ON!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I love books and have found a new way to acquire them. PaperBack Swap (PBS) is a excellent book swapping service. After posting 10 books on their website, any ten books, you get two free book credits. This allows you to request any two books from another member. You pay nothing! Here is the catch, when someone requests a book from you, you pay for shipping. PBS offers a service which does all the leg work for you, you just print, wrap, tape and place in your mail box for pickup. PBS has a huge catalog, hard covers and paperbacks, and lately I have been ordering stacks of gaming materials and novels. It is an amazing service and I encourage everyone to join! You can find the link on the right side of my page. READ ON!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Turn Behind the Screen, Part II

How did my Sunday game go? It went well, everyone showed up early to finish up character creation and this is our line-up:

J is a War Mage with a fiendish ancestry,
JB is a classic Elven Archer,
W is a Dragon Shaman with a fetish for bronze,
M is a Favored Soul and a fiery eyed prophet of a new god,
B is a Druid/Rogue who is more Rogue then Druid but loves her faithful wolf companion.

Yes, I know I didn’t really stick to my restriction of the PHBII but all the players are happy and seemed to get along well. Did I tell you that my Non-Gaming Girlfriend is playing (insert maniacal laugh). I have gotten her addicted to Travian and now she is playing D&D. To encourage her I bought her a PHB, dice and some female rogue minis. Her character the Druid/Rogue has the bad habit of getting the killing shot on enemies. So much so I started showing one player the HP left on the creature before she attacked it. I didn’t want the other players to think I was catering to her. I guess it is the rogue’s job to sneak around and get that backstab in. I will have to call her my Gaming Girlfriend from now on ;)

I am running a Forgotten Realms Module for 3rd Level Characters and it has shotgun combat feel (a lot of combats one after the other). One of my favorite things is that the learning curve for players, when starting their character at low levels, is a lot faster. In my opinion the higher the starting level the longer it takes for a player to be comfortable with all their characters skills and abilities, i.e. which spells/attacks work best, who needs to be in front and who does what skill in the party. So, just after an hour into the adventure the group was working well together and had started working out some basic tactics. When we decided to stop for the night (total game time was 3 hours) the group felt confident and excited for the next session.

Now we just have to see if their characters can get along. All-in-all they seem to like it and I am having a great time. GAME ON!

My First Dungeon and Borrowing Inspiration

It was the summer of 1988 and I was neck deep in monster guts on my first dungeon crawl. As I mapped it out I noticed that it looked a lot like level one from The Legend of Zelda. Both my DM and I played more video games than RPGs at the time so some bleed over was to be expected. But it was a great dungeon and lots of fun for a newbie. So here are some thoughts for the day. Take any video game/movie/book that uses area maps or descriptions then grab some graph paper and start mapping (With movies just follow the characters). Game designers, set designers and authors get paid to develop interesting areas. Why not borrow them? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. GAME ON!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let me tell you about my birthday and the S.A.V.D.S +4

The night before my birthday I asked my girlfriend if she would play D&D with me. Surprisingly, she said ok as a B-day present to me she would play (She had sat in on my regular Sunday game earlier that week so she understood what was to transpire) but only if she could play a Half-Elf Ranger/Druid with a wolf animal companion. I hadn't realized her knowledge of the game had expanded that far.

Excited and realizing that I didn't have a DM’s Screen I set myself to cutting up a cardboard box. (Note to self, cutting stuff after a few glasses of wine is not the best of ideas.) After completing the cutting, with no injuries to my person I might add, my girlfriend asked if I was going to put anything on it. Now, I know and she knows I cannot draw, my people are sticks and my cows look like dogs and dogs like cows, etc.

In my wine addled brain I decide to collage it. I take pages of pdfs’ that I have printed out and begin to tape them to the cardboard. As I drank another glass of wine, I decided I need a base coat of pages to begin with, like when your painting something. So, with my handy packing tape dispenser in hand I start spackling on pages. My Girlfriend, at this point walks into the kitchen, (normally her territory) where I have commandeered the island for my “Super Awesome Vorpal DMing Screen +4”, and asks me “What are you doing?” I reply simply “Collaging my S.A.V.D.S. +4” She looks on perplexed. “Have you ever collaged anything before?” she asks. “Sure” I reply, thinking that time in third grade should count. She set down her wineglass, smiled that smile (the one that says “You would be hopeless without me.”) and asks “Why don’t you let me do this” I look to the scissors “O.K.”

She sent me away for more pages, pictures and another pair of scissors. From the Abyss (the room in our small house where we store everything) I hear the sound of paper ripping as she tries to undo the mess I made. I grab a large stack of paper and hurry to help her. She busts me down to cutter duty, where I cut out pictures for her and she then decides the placement. The color scheme is black and white and she decides she wants a darker tone to the screen. I start cutting.

I sometimes forget how handy she is at crafts and things. She is the one in the relationship who owns power tools. I have an all in one tool kit that I bought where everything has the same colored handles and its own carrying case. We spend the next couple hours collaging, well really she spends it collaging, and I just cut stuff.

At this point I would like to thank my girlfriend for her assistance, understanding and willingness to participate in my hobby. Below are some more pictures of our handiwork. Enjoy and GAME ON!

p.s. my girlfriend did play D&D with me on my birthday and I think she had fun...

Hear ye, Hear ye! The Duskblade Spell List is ... Where?

One of my player’s wants to play a Duskblade in our upcoming game. When he produced his spell list I was like “Those aren’t Duskblade spells!” Luckily, I have patient players and he politely corrected me. I must be nuts or blind! All this time I never knew that the actual complete spell list for Duskblades was on page 24 of the PHBII (Player’s Handbook II). All this time, staring me right in the face. I always wondered why they had the Channel Spell ability at third level but didn’t have any touch spells available. If I had tried to play a Duskblade I'm sure I would have found this out sooner but better late then in the middle of a horde of Orcs. GAME ON!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Man Who Made Me Rethink the Survival Skill

I happened to be watching the Discovery Channel when my new favorite show came on. “Man vs. Wild” with Bear Grylls. Just a little bit about Bear Gyrlls, according to his website, which you can find at, “After breaking his back in three places in a parachuting accident, he fought his way to recovery, and two years later entered the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest aged only 23.” He was also a member of the British SAS (Special Air Service) and that gives him some mad street cred’.

Now on with the show! The premise of “Man vs. Wild” is that Bear Grylls drops (literally jumps off moving aircraft into water, or parachutes) into treacherous locations around the world and shows us normal folk how to survive in the wild. Ultimately he achieves his goal and is “rescued” or he escapes to a more hospitable location but not before some interesting displays of his superior survival skills.

Watching Bear as he bit the head off a snake or dug for insect larva in a rotting tree made me re-think the Survival skill in RPGs expressly Dungeons and Dragons. The survival skill says that a Survival check at DC 10 (DC= difficulty check) will allow you to hunt/forage while moving at half your normal movement rate and you can provide food and water for one other person for every two points over ten (the DC) on a successful roll.

Now having seen Bear in action made me wonder about how to add a little spice to the survival skill. Do the players find a water source in the desert or do they have to drink their own urine? (Yes folks, Bear did this) Or, what kind of food are they surviving on. Are they eating grubs and beetles or can they catch an animal and what kind of animal is it? What about gear? Are they adequately supplied with blankets and bedrolls, tents and tinder?

My mouth is watering at the thought of all the fun to be had. GAME ON!

Below is a video of Mr. Grylls in action. Enjoy:)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Notes from a Web Lurker.....

Lurk: definition:
A: to lie in wait in a place of concealment especially for an evil purpose.
B: to read messages on an Internet discussion forum (as a newsgroup or chat room) without contributing

I lurk, I lurk a lot. Not the “outside your bedroom window, peeping tom” lurk. I am a “Web lurker”. I read the posts from multiple websites and blogs, belong to a huge number of online groups and I never post a comment. My new goal is to post more comments even if it is just “kudos to you”. I figure all these people writing great things about Role-playing and Role-playing games deserve a little pat on their back and some recognition for all their work expanding the hobby…..


(p.s. you can find my favorite RPG blogs in “My Blog List” at the bottom of the page)

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Turn Behind the Screen

By some trick of fate I have never DM'd 3.5e. I soon will have my chance. I have decide to run a campaign on every other Sunday for my current D&D group where I am just a player. So here is the guidelines I sent out to my potential players:

Well met and Welcome,

For those of you who plan to join my 3.5 game here are some guidelines for creating your characters.

Ability Scores: Roll 4d6, drop the lowest, place where ever you wish. Please note that no score over 18 will be allowed so watch your racial adjustments.

Races: All base races from the PHB (Player’s Handbook) are allowed.

Classes: All base classes from the PHB and the PHB II (Player’s Handbook II) will be allowed.

Level: All Characters will be Level 3. (i.e. Fighter 3, Rogue/Wizard 1/2)

To avoid problems I expect there to be at least one character from the four basic archetypes: Fighter, Wizard, Rogue and Cleric.

Alignment: No EVIL Characters!

Money: You begin with the basic starting amount for a 3rd level character. Please equip your characters appropriately with all necessary adventuring items, weapons and armor (For the Fighter types, the highest armor you can own at third level is Half-plate.)

Spell books and Components: Arcane casters please contact me and we will discuss spell books, components and your known spells.

Please email me your top 3 picks for Character Class and I will try to accommodate everyone.

I will expect back stories for each character and everyone start thinking about a name for your party.

If you know someone from our regular gaming group did not receive this email please forward it to them.

Our first game will be this coming Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 5:00pm


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday game and Zinthalion Dalgren

I am about to be heading out to my FLGS (Favorite Local Gaming Store) for my Sunday D&D 3.5 game. We have been playing every other Sunday for about 5 months now and I have been known to write extended character back stories on occasion. Here is some of my current character's back story.

Zinthalion Dalgren

Being the youngest son of a noble family( 5 siblings, 2 older brothers, 3 older sisters). Zin left home after his eldest brother inherited to avoid a political marriage and avoid his family's constant disparagement over Zin's study of magic. During his travels he found that he had equal skill with a sword and understands that there are enemies that cannot be defeated with only magic or only steel. Zin prefers expensive clothes and has refined tastes when he is allowed to indulge them but these have been tempered by his travels and adventures. Zin also loves long swords and magical wands and will go out of his way to collect them. Often relying on wands or first in battle, before using memorized spells, he will use his sword if pressed or the opportunity presents itself.

(After handing this to my GM he said my character still needed a reason to be there, either he is running from something or running to something. So I then fleshed out the political marriage idea and added the bounty. So now he has a real reason to run)

Zin’s running away from his political arranged marriage has further reaching implications then just an upset bride to be. In Zin’s homeland there is a constant competition between the noble houses sometimes leading to minor skirmishes and at its worst a rash of kidnappings and assassinations. During the last “house cleaning” a number of minor noble houses were all but destroyed or absorbed by some of the larger older houses. During one of these skirmishes one of the royals, a prince fourth in the in the line of succession, was killed by “accident” prompting the King to intervene.

The 10 most powerful houses were selected to give up one son and one daughter to the guardianship of the Royal family to be used at their discretion. Either wed in an arranged marriage to foreign powers, wed to secure a peace between two houses, to become agents of the crown such as diplomats, commanders of the military, ladies in waiting to the queen or kept within the palace to insure the continued peace on tranquility of the kingdom. All the houses complied and many of the lesser noble houses offered up their children as well to be fostered by the crown. That was 5 years ago. Now one may find members of noble houses throughout the military and in the Kings service. The camaraderie bred by working in the king’s service has been reflected by the noble houses, many of the current heirs know each other from their time serving the crown and there has not been an incident breaking the Kings peace in 4 years.

But one problem remains, Zin was offered up and selected to be married to a foreign princess of his country’s greatest rival, she was not in direct line for the throne being the niece of the foreign king but still a princess. A treaty, concerning ample trade concessions and a much contested border, was drawn based on this marriage. Three days before Zin’s bride was supposed to arrive he slipped away during the wedding preparations, injuring two royal guards in the process. He evaded capture twice more escaping from the city and the kingdom.

His bride, which he has never seen, arrived and was presented to the King. The King embarrassed offered another in Zin’s place but this was a terrible insult to the Foreign King and his family. The princess was not to be given way to just anyone who happened by. The Princess would be married to Zin or not at all. For three days diplomats from both sides argued while Zin went un-captured. In disgust both Kings walked away from the bargaining table. Zin’s favorite family member, his grandmother, is known as the Dragon Dowager. She is a skilled diplomat, savvy merchant, and often a trusted advisor to the crown. She alone won concessions from the two kings. The death mark would not be placed on Zin by either King and the treaty would be shelved and left unsigned. Upon Zin’s capture and return, the wedding would go on and the treaty signed.

Currently Zin is branded a traitor to the crown at home and criminal-at-large in the foreign kingdom bounty is at 21,000 gold alive ( 3x level x1000gp) and one third for his body or unequivocal proof of his death.( level x 1000gp) Smaller rewards are often granted for information of his whereabouts. Zin is sure that there are others after his death, which would allow another to wed the foreign princess. There nobles in both kingdoms who first, wish to punish him for his insult and second, to keep the treaty from ever happening. They have ample money to do so. Zin’s evasions have been more luck then skill to this point. Every time there is a border dispute, skirmish or some sort of trade issue Zin’s name is brought up and the search is reestablished.

Note: This is part of the character history I handed to the GM so some of it is purposely vague to allow him room to incorporate it into his campaign.


Gamer's Girlfriend

My Girlfriend is not a Gamer, no RPGs, no video games. This is my continuing mission to change that. She is a young professional, a excellent cook and a very indulgent girlfriend but not a gamer and I being a moderately obsessive gamer saw this as a possible deal breaker. So first I had to explain to her what a Role-playing game is.

G.F: What is Dungeons and Dragons?

B.G.: It's a Role-playing Game

G.F: Is that where a bunch of geeks hang out in a basement and pretend to cast spells on each other?

B.G.: No, Darlin' That is not how it goes.

I could see I was going to need some help so I secretly purchased Shelley Mazzanobles book "Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl's Guide to the Dungeons and Dragons Game"

It arrived a few days later and I explained to my girlfriend that I got her a present. I gave her the book knowing that I would have the time to read it before she ever moved it off her nightstand. So that night I quietly lifted her "present" from her nightstand and begain to read. It was wonderful, full of humor and easily accesible to someone whose closest experience to role-playing happens planning dinner parties. Needless to say I was impressed.

Apparently my girlfriend was impressed too. She begain reading and finished it in record time. All of a sudden, she had questions about character classes and the benefits of the different races. I was in heaven:)

There will be more to come...