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Showing posts from July, 2014

Friday Night Pathfinder Horror: Back to Civilization

This week the party, missing only Bengrim from its active ranks, conitnued trying to find their way back.  When last we left our heroes they had just talked a beautiful glowing green apparition out of protecting its territory.   Unfortunately two small balls of electrical energy were still hostile and attacking poor Sora.

Sora continued to be attacked by the two small floating balls until he lie dying on the floor.  Lillian, Vinde, Morrigan, and others headed past the dangerous creatures.  Sowden fired his crossbow at the creatures.  Tabbris attempted to use spells on the creatures.  The floating electrical balls floated over and started attacking Hecate.

Vinde was able to make it to the chest on the side of the cavern.  She opened it without issue and found a large stash of all sorts of random magical and nonmagical items inside.  Unfortunately with the attacks still going on, she had to grab what she could and run.  Morrigan's eidolon, a panther-like creature, also grabbed what…

Technical Difficulties: The Bane of the Online GM

Occasionally I find myself needing to GM online from my laptop rather than my desktop, most recently because of a sore back.  Unfortunately I recently found out that my laptop suffers from a Windows 7 bug that results in it randomly dropping teamspeak.  This week was one of those weeks, but I thought I had a solution using my cell phone to run teamspeak.  It turns out talking to one person is fine, but my cell freaked out when I connected up for the game.

In a technological hail mary play I thought we'd give the audio a try on Roll20, but the group never entirely got it working.  It resulted in some unhappy players and a cancelled game, not to mention a frustrated gm.

So, I got underway yesterday installing Windows 8 on my laptop.  Windows 8 installed nicely, though Microsoft locked out my license key on the license,  even though I never did get working on my old green monster desktop that died a horrible hardware failure death.  Grrr... that is $80 bucks more for another license.

The Depths of Characters

It is an interesting tale that we weave when we play a character, a tale of our own life.  Ask a man to draw his fingers, and in the errors we add in the drawing, we reflect our own exaggerations of how we see our self -- a tall thin person will draw long, spindly fingers.  The person who sees themself as fat will often draw fatter, shorter fingers. But characters do not shine our flaws this way.  Look into the characters, and what we see are deeper reflections.

Beginner players always start out the same.  They pick a character they already love and they try to copy them into the game.  For years I played in games with other characters named Ryu because of this.  Batman has popped up again and again in different forms.  And don't forget the always popular drow elf with two swords and a panther companion.  Their characters are always misplaced in the world, loners, unconnected, wronged, and for some reason, without parents.

At some point players, if they experience enough, move bey…

Darkened Path: Friday Night Pathfinder Horror

With a group consisting of 4 old players and 3 new players, Friday Night Pathfinder Horror got back under way this week.  As always, the new players started out with two players a piece.  Here's the starting party:

Allison -- Human BardBengrim* -- Dwarf PaladinHecate -- Half-elf SorceressLillian* -- Human Fighter (former paladin)Morrigan -- Human Summoner with a Panther-like EidolonSagittarius -- Half-elf RangerSora -- Elf BardSowden* -- Human RangerTabbris* -- Human DruidVinde -- Human Psion Previously played characters are marked with an asterisk.
The party starts out, having had new characters fallen down a crevasse into the cavern where the party waits to cross the lake.  Bengrim, Sowden (whose player is out), Lillian, and Tabbris sit near a camp fire.  The party gets briefly introduced and then starts to undertake the task of crossing the murky, putrid lake ahead.
Bengrim grabs his climbing gear and climbs along the cavern face to get to the other side.  Tabbris wild shapes in…

BOO is back!

Boo, the miniature Giant space hamster.
Seen @mikemearls

GM's Little Helper

My wife recently got me a "moleskin" style notebook, pink, and took the time to label it "Pink Dice GM".  It was a very thoughtful gift, especially since I had been wanting a nice notebook.  What I didn't realize when I received this thoughtful gift is how big of an impact it might have on my gaming.

You see, lately I have been struggling to come up with new pieces of "flair" to keep the game interesting.  It is fun to pull some interesting pieces from one of my numerous books of beasts and items.  Sometimes, however, I like to add something unique -- my own pieces of flair.  Through the years, these are the things that really make the game fun.

This notebook has become a place to keep my creative ideas as I come up with them.  So far I have captured ideas for unique creatures, items, and even plots in this notebook.  It is quickly becoming my treasure-trove of inspiration -- raw inspirations that come from me.

As all GMs wonder, will there be a time…

Pathfinder, ACP, and D&D 5th Edition

Way back when, I posted a brief article about Pathfinder without ACP.  Now that D&D 5th Edition has come out, I figured it was time to take a detailed look at how they handled ACP and see if my gripe about ACP had been fixed.

Wearing armor in 5E basically requires proficiency or you take disadvantage on just about everything and you can't cast spells.  They have scaled the AC from the armor to include DEX for light armors, a limited DEX for medium, and no DEX for heavy armors.  In addition, certain armors (heavy, some medium, one light) give disadvantage on stealth.

HOWEVER, there appears to be no more penalties for other skills by wearing armor.  Hurrah!  ACP is gone, except for stealth.

These kinds of attention to detail in the mechanics make me think that 5E really has a chance of being the system of choice in the future.

A First Look at D&D 5e Basic Rules

I downloaded the D&D 5e Basic Rules today and skimmed the 110 pages of content.  This is really my first look, since I didn't participate in the play tests with the 175,000 D&D fans (mentioned right up front in the Basic Rules).  I admit that I mostly skipped over the details of races and classes.  I fall strictly under the category of old edition lover, with my favorite versions being 3.5 and earlier.  I currently GM Pathfinder.  4th Edition and the related atrocities committed against Forgotten Realms in the the Spell Plague angered me as a player and I refused to participate in 4th Edition.

Overall, my general impression of 5th Edition Basic Rules is positive.  The rules have greatly simplified a number of things, mirroring one of the strengths of Pathfinder and taking it further.  The description of many aspects of the game are straightforward and allow multiple interpretations of play to be used.  The character sheets are clean and easy to interpret.  This is going to…

What You Need to GM: A Requirements Review

GMs all have lots of clever tools for GMing in all sorts of places and scenarios.  Maybe he has a mega-kit for GMing at home.  Maybe she has a nifty on-the-go GMing backpack for cons.  Maybe you even have an online set of tools you use.  No matter what you use to GM, my bet is that you cover your bases and hit all of the requirements we are going to talk about today.  Below I have listed the basic things you need to GM effectively.

RULES: Access to a copy of the official accepted rulesMAP: A map of the environment (optionally shared with players; optionally with tokens for characters and other things in play)MAP KEY:  A key to where encounters, traps, and other things of interest are on the map, that the PCs don't have access toINITIATIVE TRACKER: A way of keeping track of and displaying initiative order.DICE: A way of rolling dice (rolling in secret, as needed)STATS: A resource for stats for opponents, NPCs, traps, and suchNOTES: Notes about plot points and other relevant itemsCHA…