If Larry King Commented on D&D

With apologies to Mr. King himself and ESPN the Magazine (who does an “If Larry King wrote for us” shtick).

Don’t know about you but I figure these ‘fortune cards’ are gonna be the biggest thing to hit D&D since THACO.  I just made fifth level in my weekend campaign…25 more levels and Orcus is goin’ down!      Have you seen how well the essentials mage tanks?  Trust me take the feats you need and have him slap on some plate mail…you won’t regret it.     I’m not sure what to think but I hear they got Ernie Gygax to write 5th edition- might just be a rumor though.      Have you squared off against the purple worm in the Monster Vault boxed set yet?  We’ve been TPK’ed six times….’course starting over with first level characters each time might have something to do with it.      Adventurer’s Vault 3, WOTC finally debuts the ‘hardheaded packmule’ (level 3 soldier), you heard it here first!    Is it just me or is there a TON of water in the Desert of Athas terrain tiles?  Well that’s it for now, I’m off to use the DDI character builder to put together my half-goliath, half-drow multi-class bard/starlock!

City Slices I is here!

In case you haven’t seen City Slices I: Marketplace Fun is selling like crazy at rpgnow.com.  30 adventure bits with marketplace stalls, food vendors, skill challenges and more.  Optimized for 4E but the fluff works with any fantasy rpg.  Check it out!



The Vanquishers Campaign: What to do with a sick DM.

William gets sick.  If you’re friends with him, it’s a fact of life.  He takes medication just fine, and, as far as I know it’s rare that he ever gets seriously ill, but if there’s a sniffle to be had, he’ll get it.  I think if he talks to a sick person on the phone he gets sick.  This inevitability reared its ugly head on last weeks game.  We played, but it didn’t further the story much because, let’s be honest, he was sick enough that it wouldn’t have shocked anyone if he’d cancelled altogether (not sure if anyone realizes how close I was to canceling: I felt like I couldn’t give the performance my players deserved.  As a DM with adult players, most with children, I know how valuable their time is…I feel like if I don’t hit a grand slam every time, the session has been an utter failure.)

In the story, however, with our many available gangs to battle with, we helped eliminate the current lowest gang by removing their final 4 members.  It was interesting because we got to watch JohnO (the Bard) go one on one with a rogue.  This provided a fair amount of fireworks because our team was there under the guise of “auditioning” to join the gang and JohnO’s character was the one speaking, so he was thrown to the wolves.  Take note, Bards aren’t very good at going mano-a-mano(obviously not all Bards, just his particular build, you can make any character good at anything you want- hence us making my Invoker a tank).  His greatest powers are triggered from his allies hitting or being hit and one on one combat doesn’t give too many opportunities for that… actually… none.  JohnO softened the Rogue and Ed the Barbarian finished off almost the entire rest of the group himself.  It was a bloodbath (an incredible understatement….we knew barbarians were great, we knew they dished out tons of damage, but Ed dropped one bloodied foe and two totally healthy foes in a single round.  It was jaw-dropping.)

This week coming is exciting.  We have Christmas coming up AND it’s Ed the Barbarian’s birthday on our regular game night.  I believe the “snacking” may be some of our best work (scotch eggs? anyone?).  And, since William had such a rough week last week, we’re nearly guaranteed to get some juicy elements in this week’s game.  Our current status is at Level 3 mostly, and we seem to be moving along well.  I’ll post after next game as best as possible with all the other festivities going on, and hope I’ll be able to wish you all a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa or Happy whichever Pagan holiday you happen to celebrate.  Take care everyone and enjoy (Murry Crimas! and God save the leucrottas!).

-BMo

Love Kobold Slingers?

If you love the little pot-slinging bastards as much as I do head on over to the freebies section for 8 new pots to bash your players with!

The Vanquishers Campaign: I Now Know How College Basketball Players Feel

Playing a moral compass isn’t easy.  I never really liked the concept, mostly because it just plain seemed annoying.  “Oh my, the Gods would frown upon that, don’t you think?”  There’s a certain amount of pompous mixed with a certain amount of just plain asshole involved with it- and really, I’m kinda there to help the DM tell the story, not to be his referee.  And, speaking of referees, that’s what we’re going to discuss this week.  It’s kind of easy to be the fighter, you get yourself into the situation and everyone else bails you out because you can defend yourself long enough to stay upright.  Your decisions are based on whether you think you think he can crack your armor before you kill him or your friends arrive.  With a spellcaster, it’s not so easy.  You choose your words carefully early on because one solid shot, and you’re done. (Bmo goes a lil old school here, spellslingers aren’t nearly as ‘squishy’ in 4e, and I think we’ve found a way for his invoker to be a mini-tank…more to come on that in future posts)  You aren’t normally geared up to take a huge blow, so you keep your mouth shut until you know what you’re talking about then speak to benefit the party.

The Vanquisher Campaign: And here… we… go!

This is a new series of posts written by both BMO and William (appearing in red) – gamer and DM (that’s me!) , for William C. Pfaff’s new “Vanquisher Campaign”.  I get to gloat about some of the things that I think make 4E great (less prep time for the DM more time for the FUN), brag about how much I enjoy playing under William as a DM with his somewhat unique (somewhat?) approach to running the game, and he gets to explain to everyone some of the tricks (but not all of them…for that you have to take one of my special DMing classes) that make his methods so effective.  This is a bit of an experiment, so the format may change a bit, but, for now, I,  BMO,  will write, then William will add in after the fact (thusly).

Let me begin with a very special shout-out.  The “Big Nerd” himself, the famous Shawn Henry, who IS our friend, inspired this series.  The poor guy is stuck in a larger town than we live in and yet doesn’t have a gaming group.  He was so excited about the prospect of this campaign that he pleaded with me to blog the happenings so he could live vicariously.  Not only that, today is Shawn’s birthday, so, as a gift, I think everyone should go check out his amazing art and figure out a way to buy stuff off of him at The Big Nerd.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get to the juicy stuff.  You must be wondering, “Is this campaign bloody like William warned? -Brett from Lexington”, Yes.  With no actual defender, we bleed a lot.  Luckily, we have a Bard that seems to have just the right powers at just the right time to keep us upright (Despite the massive chunks of damage done by the strikers Johno’s Bard was easily MVP of the first session. As a DM I was truly impressed at the leap John has made from last campaign to this one in terms of both rules knowledge and willingness to ‘jump right in’. Kudos to Johno!).

The Vanquisher Campaign: The Countdown is Officially ON!

This is a new series of posts written by both BMO and William (appearing in red) – gamer and DM (that’s me!) , for William C. Pfaff’s new “Vanquisher Campaign”.  I get to gloat about some of the things that I think make 4E great (less prep time for the DM more time for the FUN), brag about how much I enjoy playing under William as a DM with his somewhat unique (somewhat?) approach to running the game, and he gets to explain to everyone some of the tricks (but not all of them…for that you have to take one of my special DMing classes) that make his methods so effective.  This is a bit of an experiment, so the format may change a bit, but, for now, I,  BMO,  will write, then William will add in after the fact (thusly).

BMO:  T-minus a bit over 48 hours (sure wish I had the finished map drawn…sigh….more ‘5 hour energy’ coming online) until we roll characters for the Vanquisher Campaign.  I’m reporting in with limited knowledge of what’s going on altogether, but I do know this, we’re going OLD SCHOOL.  I can hear the traditionalists sinking in, cracking open a Mountain Dew, and getting comfortable in their office chairs as they read that.  (Admit it, you cheered a little, I know it.)

Yes, this campaign will apparently be a nod, (a throwback even), to the days when treasures came from a table, healing came from a potion and diplomacy was served at the tip of a blood-stained sword.  Everyone is pumped!

…except me.

Sophistication Stinks

I don’t mean to sound arrogant but my players and I have become more sophisticated in our gaming tastes and styles. I think it’s a natural progression. In middle school, I as the DM, used to hastily scrawl maps on graph paper on the bus on the way home….some random encounter charts and a few traps sprinkled in and we are off and gaming!

Burn Out….what a pain…

Burn Out……the bane of every creative person out there. I’ve been suffering from it massively as of late, and that’s the reason for the hiatus in updating this site as well as lack of new products beyond Vexing Sands.

I realized I had to get “back in the saddle” so to speak so this is a first step. I’m going to address some of the ways to fight “burn-out”, “writer’s block”, whatever you wish to call it.