Tag Archives: D&D

Take on the Death Queen

No GM? No Problem!

From the creator of Lunatic Labyrinth comes a new solo adventure, the first in a series of solo adventures revolving around Scarthey, the University of the Arcane.

The Stone of Ashirai—said to contain power over life itself—is rumored to lie within the tomb of the goddess Ashirai, the Death Queen. Can you be the first to reach her tomb, find the stone, and survive to tell the tale?Death Queen and the Life Stone cover

Get Death Queen & the Life Stone on Drive Thru RPG

 

Character Class: Cleric or Fighter
Character Level: 1st
Play Mode: Solo / 1-on-1
System: fifth edition fantasy
SettingScarthey, the University of the Arcane


Till next time, Tell Thrilling Tales
Rodney Sloan and Bob Storrar
Rising Phoenix Games

5 Tricks for Perfect Portals

This months blog carnival is about gates and portals, the jam to fantasy roleplay’s bread and butter. Let’s throw it open and jump right in!

1. Build Drama

Gates and portals build drama because they have potential. Something behind the lock is forbidden, and by putting a door in the PCs way you’ve wrapped a big pink bow around it. Make sure that whatever is behind the door doesn’t waste that built up tension. When a door is unlocked, the plot should advance.

2. A Level-Up Reward

In the same way, a door can be a prize. If the DC to open a door is too high for the party now, or they need a key, it lets them know that they’ll be coming back later. Give them a hint of what’s behind it to really wet their appetites.

3. A Gate to a New World

Did you ever watch Stargate? I love the idea of stepping into another world. Portals give you limitless options, so use that to really shake things up. Don’t just send the party off to a hotter climate, send them to a different planet where they can truly discover the meaning of the word “alien”.

4. Change it Up

Forget iron-bound doors around every corner. Change it up!
What would a door to the fey realm look like? Would it have wings? Would an earth elemental even bother with doors, or just shape the earth around itself?
What if a door was the reanimated skull of a long dead monster, all too happy to open up wide?

5. The Door is the Journey

Everything comes together when you make the door as much a part of your story as the main NPC or boss monster. Stargate did it well, so here’s a clip.

Remember, every door is a chance to tell a story, so tell thrilling tales.

Fantasy is full of memorable doors and portals. Do you have a favorite? Or one from a campaign? Please tell us about it in the comments.

Dwarves Rule

I’m overly fond of the little guys, although I’d never use the word “little” to a dwarfs face. I love everything about the bearded warriors. Their lore, their grim nature, … their beards. I guess I’m part grumpy dwarf me-self.

Recently, I’ve been watching the excellent Vikings series. In one episode, I believe the first, one character says to another “we’ll be as rich as dwarves.” That struck me as a veritable gold mine, excuse the obvious pun, for a dwarf related blog post, so here we are.

Dwarf by armandeo64
by armandeo64

Dwarven PCs are often portrayed as greedy, but there’s no RPG I’m familiar with where they are actually rich. There’s an obvious reason for this: game balance. You simply don’t want every dwarf to be running around with better weapons than everyone else in the party. Or do you?

Imagine a world where dwarves generally are much richer than your average human, elf or halfling. You can bet that every inn, blacksmith and brothel is going to charge our squat friends a much higher rate for their wears. And then we have the all too commonplace issue of thievery. An escalation in the cutting of dwarven purses leads to more heavily armed dwarves (if that’s even possible), which leads to a veritable arms race. No wonder dwarves are reclusive.

But there’s a shiny side to every coin, and you can bet it would be dwarves who organise the best expeditions to the most wondrous locations, along with the best send-off parties (with the best beer) and the best victory banquets. It is, after all, the excentric rich guy who usually blows his money on the absurd adventures (cough cough Brandson cough cough Musk).

Got any ideas for rich dwarves in your campaign?

(See what I did, I called the post “Dwarves Rule”, when I’m actually talking about rules for dwarves. Sneaky little hobbitses.)

Dungeons and Dragons Set Free

Wizards of the Coast announced yesterday that they will be releasing Basic Dungeons and Dragons, a PDF rulebook that…

“…runs from levels 1 to 20 and covers the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard, presenting what we view as the essential subclass for each. It also provides the dwarf, elf, halfling, and human as race options.”

The PDF is also free!

Wow, some interesting things to come. I can’t wait!

 
Dungeons & Dragons Classics

Why I’m Hopeful About DnD Next

I’m sure many folk out there think I’m a huge D&D fan, so I want to preface this post by saying: “No”. In fact, I only got into D&D recently, having grown up on Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play and World of Darkness. I started playing 3.5 right around the time 4e came out and then got quite seriously into the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. I’ve generally found D&D to be bland, not near as interesting as the Warhammer World or the World of Darkness setting.

And yet, I think D&D Next will be a good thing.

Next will surely bring in new blood. Kids that were too young to play 4e are now older, and students who missed 4e have a chance to be excited about something new. Also, here’s another chance for Wizards of the Coast (WotC) to entice more of the “old school” back to the table.

If you haven’t played the D&D Adventure System boardgames yet then you’re missing out. They have a rightful reputation in board gaming circles as a top dungeon crawl. I think WotC learnt loads from the Adventure System and the Next play tests. I’ll wager that will mean a great starter set, one that could even include miniatures and modular dungeons, while being tailored to new players. Consider what WotC have learn’t from their Red Box and the Pathfinder Beginner Box. This product will be a key to the growth of Next. If they do it well enough, they might even manage to sell it to experienced role-players.

A new rules set also means more miniatures. Let’s look at another WotC product; Dungeon Command. Having played a few games and having played Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures before that, I think WotC is heading in the right direction. Buy a themed army of twelve figures: goblins, orcs, undead, drow or heroes, then use them in any one of three games; DC, AS or regular role-play. You could run a campaign off a box alone! I’m hoping Dungeon Command will see more support and smaller boosters, which tie in with Next and the Adventure System. That sort of marketing can only boost sales. However, Wizards announced this month that they are partnering with WizKids to bring the next line of D&D miniatures, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Now, I haven’t talked about Next‘s mechanics, and I’m not going to. Inevitably there will be folk who love it or love to hate it. It’s just one more system in a sea of countless fantasy RPGs. Can it be ground-breaking while remaining true to the D&D legacy? Probably not. But maybe D&D Next doesn’t need to be ground-breaking. Maybe the magic is in the marketing.

Dungeons & Dragons Classics

The Legend of Drizzt Boardgame

New to my collection is the Legend of Drizzt: Dungeons and Dragons Board Game, designed by Peter Lee (D&D Miniatures, Heroscape) and published by Wizards of the Coast. What originally caught my eye is that this is a game for one to five players. Yes, you can play it solo! Also, if you’ve been into role-playing for awhile you’ve probably heard of Drizzt Do’Urden, the dark elf with a conscience, and his friends, who are central to this game. I’ve got a fair collection of D&D miniatures including Drizzt, Wulfgar, Bruenor and others and this rounded out my collection with Regis and Cattie-brie along with a good bunch of themed miniatures. So the question that was on my mind when I opened the box was: “how does this game actually play?” Well, let’s find out.

Continue reading The Legend of Drizzt Boardgame

Icon 2011 – A Brief Glimps

Already almost a week in the past, Icon 2011 was loads of fun. I only managed the Friday, but there were plenty of familiar faces and I got to try my hand at convention level Magic The Gathering for the first time.

 

Magic

I’ve played Magic on and off since high school, and I was a little worried that I’d be up against serious players that were years younger than me, but those expectations were thankfully shattered. We played booster draft and although I only won two rounds, everyone I played was super friendly and each game a load of fun. I’d guess that most of the guys (and they were all guys) were between the ages of 20 and 35 or so, and more than patient when it came to questions about the rules. If I learnt anything playing at Icon it was that you just need to go and play, don’t make assumptions about other players, rather go and have fun.

 

Role-Playing

Positive feedback on my module, Storm of Souls, which ran in the morning. I didn’t watch any of the role-playing or get involved beyond writing my module, but judging by the number of people around on a Friday I’d say that role-playing games are a great reason to take leave, or that role-players are generally unemployed.

I managed to score some of the controversial D&D Fortune Cards (3 boosters in total of Shadow Over Nentir Vale) and must say I don’t think they are as bad as everyone feared. Firstly, you only need one booster to use them in your game, so 6 boosters will cover a party of 6 players. You can then build a deck with as little as 10 cards (there are 8 in a booster), allowing you to customise your deck to suit your characters fighting style and strengths. I haven’t played with the cards yet, but the advantage to the player is pretty small, considering that you only ever have one card in your hand at a time per turn. To me the main advantage (to the GM as well) is that players will probably tighten up their tactics to maximize the effects of the cards, which means faster combats. My main criticism is that only the rare cards have proper illustrations on them, which I think is sad coming from a company that produces games like Magic the Gathering. Secondly, I picked up 3 swaps in my boosters, which will make me less likely to buy these cards again, unless I find someone who’s willing to trade or the cards see a lot of use at the table. Still, I’m excited about seeing my deck work at the table, and I’ll let you know when I give it a test run.

 

Comics

I went to my first ever Icon looking for Spider-Man comics, and won a door sized Mary Jane poster because of it. I was also introduced to Warhammer 40,000, which led to role-playing games, so comics for me will always be where it all began. Comic books are still well represented at Icon, and if I had had more time and money I would have filled out my X-Force collection, or my Amazing Spider-Man collection, or my… well, you get the picture.

 

Warhammer and Warhammer 40K

I got a lift to the Con from a friend who was just bitten by the Warhammer bug, but unfortunately there was no action on Friday except for a demo game of Warmachine, which seems to be hugely popular. I must say though that, after spending a week packing up my home, Warhammer is one of the most difficult hobbies to cart around. It’s almost like being the logistics guy for your own horde of Orks (in my case), and is likely to end up with more than a handful of carefully painted miniatures hitting hard floor at one time or another and a huge load of stress, so I don’t blame them for not showing up on the Friday.

 

LARP

Big things are happening in the LARP world, and I’ll leave that for another post, save to say that you need to give it a try. The LARPers are great people and LARPing in South Africa is growing stronger all the time.

 

If you were at ICON 2011 let me know what you got up to, leave a comment and share your experience.

Icon 2011 is around the corner.

Icon 2011 is booked from the 15th to the 17th of July. More information at http://www.rpg.co.za/.

I’ve written a D&D 4th Edition module for the con, called Storm of Souls:

In an age forgotten, seven exquisite weapons known as the Soul Blades were forged. Legend says that the weapons were lost for a time, until a wise magus sought to reunite the weapons. For a long age he sought the weapons, but only managed to recovered six. The seventh weapon, it was said, had a will of its own and strove to flee the magus, leaving death and sorrow in its wake. Now rumours of the Seventh Blade’s return are being whispered in fear. Can the six sister blades be found? Can heroes be found to wield the weapons in this time of need? What secrets lie within the weapons themselves?

 

This is Dungeons and Dragons with a special twist that will have you wanting more. Be part of the six heroes that take up the mythical Soul Blades in the quest to destroy the Seventh Blade.

 

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition for six players and a GM.

 

See you there!