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Showing posts from February, 2010

New DM Screen

I just haven't found a good DM screen for 3.5e.  I also haven't found a good way to transport minis outside of an old box.  Happily, an item came up on Kid's Woot the other day that helped fix this problem.

The PlayMobile Knights Castle Take Along is the perfect foundation for a DM case / DM screen.

The inside of the castle has lots of nooks and crannies for holding minis and supplies.

The top is great for holding extra dice.  (I use spare bulk dice for hitpoint counters for monsters.)

The tower tops are a great place to store PC minis and, during the game, a great place to roll dice to keep them from going everywhere.
Of course, the missing piece are the tables for the DM, which I'll add later.  I'll drop a post when I get that done.
-DM Dad

The Five Room Dungeon Delve: The Vault of the Wiglord

The girls want more hack 'n' slash.  There was also some mumbling about switching characters.  So, to give them what they wanted, I ran a Friday night dungeon delve based on the 18 volume collection of 5 room dungeons found here:

 The group had the usual rogue, ranger, and paladin.  The cleric was replace by a quirky little gnome bard played by S.  The not-so-smart fighter was replaced by a very stupid half-orc barbarian played by V.

No computer tonight.  I drew the map on a battle grid as we went.  I had 3 sheets of paper describing the 5 rooms on which I had scribbled all the monster stats.  Part of tonight's goal was also to show the players a method that they could DM by in the hopes that I might get to play some day.

The first room they found a green dragon (very small).  This freaked them out a bit, since all previous encounters with dragons had either killed PCs or had been a conversation as part of a larg…

Tuesday Night Dragon's Tear Campaign

So we moved our D&D night up to Tuesday since there is much preparation on Wednesday night planned for Thursday's birthday festivities.

The one thing I am learning to count on as a DM is not to count on things 'going as planned'.

Tonight the crew investigated some ruins where there were rumored to be orcs.

The ruins opened by means of solving a dwarvan riddle which described the 4 elements (earth, wind, water, fire)  in a specific order, giving the order to press the runes on a plate.  The riddle took a while to solve, and was complicated by the fact that we had watched "The Fifth Element" the night before.  They were blowing at and setting fire to the runes trying to get the dungeon open.

Once inside, the rogue rushed ahead and set off a trap.  Everyone was stabbed in a flurry of spears flying down the hallway at them.  Before the rogue can try to ensure that the trap was disabled, here comes the fighter, setting the trap off again, and getting everyone a f…

Rats: My First Minis

So I used the dip method outline here:

I still need to add the satin finish (they are a bit too shiney).

Robot Chicken D&D and Other Stuff

Our little group has been watching the videos of the Robot Chicken D&D group adventure in D&D 4.

I particularly like the DM commentary.

I was particularly proud of the girls today when we visited our local RPG store.  The girls were able to name off what we were playing, including version.

I am starting the trek into miniature painting.  So far so good.

Wednesday Night Gaming Session

So the group of fearless (and somewhat bickering) set of adventurers stock up on supplies in Wayford.  Suppertime takes them to a local pub.  Upon sitting down, a patron finds and insect in his supper and becomes irate.  After a brief angry discussion with the bar maid, she gets upset and walks out.

The paladin is immediately questioning the irate customer.
"Is there a problem?"

The insect in his food is the problem.  They talk to the bartender.  They go outside and fail to find the waitress.  They go back in, and on an unlucky roll, one of the PCs finds an insect in their food.  More discussion.

DM is bored with the party thinking that everything that happens must have some great meaning, especially since I have hundreds of random events that will occur in this campaign.

So off to the magistrate of Wayford.  There are orcs wandering in from the Lurkwood seen near a set of ruins.  There are disturbances at the Wayford cemetery.

The cemetery is only a day's journey out.…

Some Software of Interest

I've been digging through software and have pulled a few useful pieces out for use so far:
AUTORealm -- map makingFreeMind -- mind mapping software, good for organizing people, places, etc in a campaignRedBlade -- character generationBox of Flumph -- kingdom generator, also available on Redblade siteJamis Buck's D&D NPC Generator -- Download link not available (please let me know if you have it), an online NPC generator is hereEncounter Level and XP Calculator OpenOffice Spreadsheet -- found on this pageGoogleDocs / OpenOffice -- spreadsheets So how do I use these to build a campaign?  Here's my notes:

Freemind is great for keeping a hierarchy of notes.  I organize into subnodes for Plot, Adventurers, Groups, Places.  Because you can open/close nodes, it is easy to flip to relevant info during a gaming session and it helps the DM to avoid railroading.  It is especially well suited if you are using a netbook with limited screen space.Under Plot, I make major plot outlines…

The Players

Currently playing Dahlia Jones, a human rogue.
Plays WoW
Knits and crochets during the day, rogue backstabber at night.
Doesn't like doing backgrounds
Tanks or rogues -- no magic users for her

Currently playing Annah Aristotle, a half-elf ranger
Tries to put herself (drama queen) into her character, often resulting in death
Prefers magic and nature stuff

Currently playing Romeo Charter, a human fighter
Likes to hit things, even other PCs and rocks
Get easily annoyed with other players who won't let her hit stuff
Not a good rogue, better at fighter
"Can I wear armor?"
"Yeah-- that would be stealthy.   Chink... chink... chink... you can't see me -- I'm being stealthy.  Chink chink chink"

Currently playing Jan Weatherwind, Elf Cleric
Good at backgrounds
Wild dice roller

DM's wife
Currently playing Lino Theremine, Half-elf Paladin
Likes pretty / hot characters
Usually ends up whacking the PCs that get "out …


Some mods we have adopted to date:

Karma points are awarded for "good play" especially good problem-solving and good in-character roleplay.  Karma points are good for 1 reroll at any time.  And often I throw snacks to players that earn Karma points -- "Oooh, a karma point and a twinkie."
Background points provide a structure for controlling the character backgrounds so they are "realistic".  After all, every player can't be a prince or a king or rich or famous:Background points can buy advantages.Disadvantages can be taken to get more background points.Some advantages or disadvantages have qualifiers:Example: Can be one-eyed but charisma has to be less than 14.I emphasize the fact that disadvantages will be used against players during gameplay.
Specialized unique weapons give the players something cool to find along the way:Each weapon has a cool ability.Dagger that transports you to a location, makes you invisible until you strike, and gives you a guara…

Early Experiences

We started out with D&D 3.5e Basic Game and added the Player's Kit.

Some recap of the experiences:

Mechanics take a little getting used to.  Practice made perfect.Mechanics get in the way of role playing, but are a necessary evil to get started.Early PC deaths are inevitable, but they teach the importance of NOT doing stupid things as a player that get your character killed.The elvan mage who draws fire from a dragon so the fighter doesn't get hit."Over here.  Over here"  Elf gets fried by 50 points of lightening damage and is dead.Yelling is a big problem,  We got a stuffed d20 and now only the person with it can talk, unless it is placed on the "conference square".Venue is important.  Playing at the dining room table caused players to be irritable and cranky.  Playing at the living room coffee table let everyone relax and the game went more smoothly. Some early lessons:

Players have a hard time letting go of dead characters.  I made a memorial webpage t…

Who is the DM

I've been a gamer since I was young kid.  I loved playing D&D.  I could never afford to buy books and such, so I ended up making up my own role playing systems.  My nieces and nephews that were slightly younger ended up being the players.  Eventually I coded the games into my Commodore 64 and played them myself into it ran out of memory.

High school and college brought a whole new level of gaming.  I gamed with serious gamers and became a serious DM.  One member of our group even was a beta tester for D&D.  I wrote and rewrote rules and systems.  I got into Shadowrun.  I got into Battletech and scaled it into a full multi-planetary war system.

Now, as a thirty-something dad with 4 daughters, I decided it was time to share D&D as both a fun experience and a cool teaching tool.

We started out with the 3.5e starter set, expanded with books and miniatures.  This blog starts as we just are finishing up our first campaign.

by DM Dad