Our weekly game has turned into a monthly game what with holidays, family, work and all that. One of the downsides of this is that I don’t feel that we’re getting through enough adventure in the time we have. Our system of choice means that combats take up the majority of the session, and the bits in between them are more about the snacks than anything else. That’s ok, but for me as perennial DM it’s getting a bit frustrating.
Making a system switch is a big deal, and might not cure every ill. In fact, it might make things worse! I don’t want to make everything we’ve played over the past few years redundant. So, we agreed a decent compromise I think.
From next week we’re moving to the Next rules. They appear to be in a much more stable state than when we tried them out at the start. I’m hoping it allows us to get more adventuring done, but still allows for big set piece conflicts too. We’re using some of the NPCs from our current campaign and playing them alongside our regular 4e campaign. That way one session can affect another, and we haven’t dumped our main game entirely.
I’m quite excited by the idea. Feels fresh. Feels right. We will see.
Forgot to mention, my third column for UK Roleplayers was published a couple of weeks back.
There’s three there now, and it’s planned to be a monthly feature. It’s a kind of memoir, all about me and my gaming history, but it seems to have tapped into a lot of folks memories. I love that. Hope you drop by and comment (here or there, not precious)
Emboldened by handing in my scenario work for approval with the publisher recently, I’m deciding where to go next. I think I’ll go right to the other end of the normal adventure spectrum.
I love the 4e cosmology, and the Astral Sea treatment in particular. WotC really never got behind epic tier play, not really, and there’s no chance at all now. So, confident my stuff won’t tread on any toes, or get superseded, I’m going to write in this space.
Tonight, a close read of the book, with notebook in hand. I will let the ideas drip feed out and see what makes sense in the morning.
After playing over Roll 20 with some of the gents from UK Roleplayers last night, I’ve spent a happy hour investigating the interface today. Wow! Even I can understand it! It’s just about perfect for my needs. Don’t know why I didn’t properly check this out before.
The downside? I’m likely to spend a lot more prep time dragging in maps and tokens etc. Having said that, I’ve got loads of that sort of stuff clogging up my shelves IRL already.
Anyone else gotten to grips with this? Any hints, tips, pitfalls, resources?
Two things consumed over the weekend. First, while out running, my iPod shuffled in an old WotC podcast. I was about to hit ‘forward’ but listened on for a bit. Turned out it was Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford being interviewed on the day of the very first Next playtest release.
Today I checked out the same guys on a Google Hangout, again, talking about the playtest.
My feelings? Well, I think I’ve heard and seen two professional, erudite and totally reasonable men talk with passion, enthusiasm, love and respect about D&D. I think they do a largely thankless job with this project, and I think they knew that going in, which makes their classiness even more striking.
This playtest isn’t really for me. My players aren’t really engaged enough with the future of the hobby to really want to stress test it. Also, I don’t want to have to keep updating myself on rules that might not survive for longer than a month. I still read them through and enjoy watching the new game unfold. I then make the stupid mistake of going to fora to find out what the wider community think about it. The level of vitriol and hyperbole is beyond the internets usual low standards. I’m seeing matters of taste being addressed as stupidity or incompetent or malice. That’s not right.
I think Next has an impossible goal ahead of it, but I’m willing it to succeed. I respect and admire the people trying to help that happen.
So there you go. A positive note about Next.
I’m sure I’m the very last person to have stumbled across this. It’s an online instant character maker. You press one buttons and it bangs out a PDF with four level 0 characters on it, all it a nice index card style, and pretty and stuff. Love it. This is going into the ’2013 DCC at Cons’ toolbox.
I’m reading Jewels of the Carnifex for DCC RPG by Harley Stroh. I’ve always been fascinated by the very beginning of campaigns and scenarios. Possibly that’s because all of us start more things than we finish! I have a sizeable collection of adventures, and I can guarantee I’ve read every introduction, even if I’ve never always gotten to the denouement. It’s in the nature of published scenarios that they have to supply either generic hooks, or no hooks at all. That’s fine, but it’s got me wondering what sort of adventure ring hook I could use to fit with All my scenarios.
Enter the heist.
I love Oceans 11. Not the old one with Frank Sinatra, the newer one with Clooney et al. It’s a salient lesson in party recruitment and hookage. Danny Ocean, the Clooney character, assembles a team of experts, with the promise of glory and loot, to pursue his own personal motivation (as above but with revenge and a love interest added in). He gathers them all and presents the overall mission. The details of how it actually might work come out of the other characters.
So in my fantasy games, this would be replicated by the idea of the patron, who could actually be represented by a PC (in fact that works better for me than a distant employer). Cut to a scene, almost certainly in a warehouse or the back room of a tavern. Lead PC lays out the overall plan, say, we’re going to rob this temple. The rest of the PCs are professional adventurers, maybe theyve worked together on previous jaunts, maybe not. They then go round the table and present their knowledge and opinions. This is where the GM has seeded the elements of a rumour table among the group in advance. There could be others in the room. A weapons master. A money man. Probably NPCs, seeded there to facilitate the scene and drop in history and background info.
And off they go.
I love the idea of the freelance professional adventurer, known by reputation, available for hire, with circles of acquaintances and contacts. You see it all the time in modern movies and its a small jump to the fantasy genre.
For other inspiration, see the movie Heat, and the Gentlemen Bastards books by Scott Lynch.