The Town of Silverton

Author: Andrew /

Greetings all!

Here's the info for next session:

This session will be entirely player driven. You have reached the town of Silverton, entered the tavern, listened to a young man named Gregory lament his current predicament. In order to prove his prowess as a young man to the father of the woman he loves, he must win the King's Purse at the tournament to be held at the capital of Jorath's March, Jorath's Hold. The young man is adventurous and excited to take on the challenge but needs training. He also needs supplies and provisions, as does anyone else who will be participating in the tournament.

The town is open to you and you may explore at your leisure. I will facilitate as needed. This session will be free form and player driven, meaning that any movement in the session will be determined by ideas you all come up with. How he trains will be up to you, how you get supplies will be up to you, as will everything else.

I hope this will be interesting and fun and I'm excited to see where things go. =] Glad to be back.

Campaign 2010: RP notes =]

Author: Andrew /

Hey hey!


Everyone, first, I just want to say, the game has gone really well so far. I'm very much enjoying the game so far. The party has shown itself to be resilient, strong and courageous. It's been a blast for me, as I hope it's been for you.

Now, I've done some thinking in the shower (the place where most great ideas come) and I am introducing what I'm calling, from this point forward, "RP notes". I want to inject some role playing and interesting inter-party points. These will be reflected as fleeting thoughts that cross your character's mind. As in life, sometimes thoughts come unbidden to us, and these points will reflect this. These notes represent thoughts that cross your character's mind but in no way force your character to act upon them. They merely serve as something that could be played off of and give an opportunity for RP even when in the midst of a dungeon crawl. I encourage all players to RP and will [perhaps] give some exp based upon RP! =]

The notes are as follows:

Throughout the time you've spent together, you've experienced a few things. You've been brought back from a fall that almost killed you by a kindly druid. Upon your walk towards town, you came upon what turned out to be a forward party of goblins with a huge ogre in toe. In the midst of this grueling fight, you were all badly beaten, some worse than others, but you rose to the occasion all the same and emerged victorious. You followed the trail of broken foliage left in the ogre's wake, searching for the goblin den, in an effort to stop the impending attack on the town. On the way, you encountered a small goblin, cowering and begging for help, in exchange for taking your group to the den, as the path the ogre left had fallen away. The goblin was asking to be taken to town in hopes of finding some way to join the town and be like them. Upon reaching the den, Tataki killed the poor goblin outright, its cowardice abhorrent to the warrior. Houseki, the crystal monk and Tamago, Tataki's sister, quickly dispatched the weakling goblins at the entrance. Tamago kicked down the door, showing no fear whatsoever.

They marched into the den, kicking in the door to the first room of the den. Fighting bravely, tooth and nail, they brought down the hearty goblin occupants they encountered, but not without party members suffering grievous injuries, some even nearing death. After resting, they continued on, finding a slime trap, but quickly ridding themselves of the hindrance; Leota, being ever the clever ranger, utilizing the poison goo to tip some of her arrows.

Next, the encountered a goblin sorcerer and his bodyguard. The old goblin also raised up three goblin skeletons to aid them. Again, after much struggle, the group prevailed, looking forward to delving deeper into the winding, twisting tunnels housing the threat to the good people of the nearby town...

Notes:

Arein: You were elected leader of this small band. Your spirit is uplifted by this but you also, being a very single-minded individual, feel challenged in the aspect of group leadership. Having multiple individuals depending on you is a relatively new situation for you. You look to your group and think about possibly looking further into their strengths.

Houseki: You were always the silent type and content to be in the background, serving your purpose and contributing as needed. In the recent altercation between you and Tataki, involving the goblin, it occurs to you that being more forward with your companions could prove beneficial. The sisters, while very much not like you, intrigue you all the same, Tamago especially, with her overt, almost reckless bravery. You've seen her brought down a few times (as you have yourself) but you both come back to serve the group. A thought of fleeting admiration for their skill flits through the back of your mind. What to think about these two?

Tataki: You've been thick as thieves with your sister for as long as you can remember. You've been her right hand and she yours since you were young. Looking on, as the recent fights have passed, however, you've seen her fall? Why is this? Is it because she is lacking in strength? Was it blind chance? Was it recklessness on her part? Do you have more to learn from each other?

Tamago: You've been at the head of any fight you've gone into. Your bravery and zeal have been unmatched. You've also taken beatings unlike anyone else in your group. You try not to show it, but being brought low by your adversaries stings, just a bit. Does this incite you to charging in all the harder? Does this perhaps spark a desire to utilize the resources that are your other party members and find what their strengths are as well as your own? After all, you know, a fighter, no matter how good, is no good when they're dead; and when it comes down to it, had it not been for them, you'd be as dead as the goblins that fell to you. How do these victories and, at the same, losses, make you feel?

Leota: Being a ranger, you're a bit unlike the others. You're quiet, reserved and deliberate. You know your job and you do it well. At the same time, you notice you're always far from your companions. You stand back as they wade into the fray. As blows are taken and dealt, you notice your companions scrambling to stay on their feet, sometimes doing better, sometimes doing worse; but, all the same, ultimately succeeding. Does this reaffirm where you stand, or perhaps, does this make you want to identify with them more? Is the distance you have purely when in conflict, or is it a reflection of something deeper inside you?


-----

I hope you guys like those. Again, please don't take them as me pushing you in any directions; as I said, they're meant to be thoughts that occur to you but are not massive weights on your heart (unless you think they should be). They can be disregarded but they can also be used to create interesting dialog. Thanks again for playing!

~Andrew

Campaign Fall 2010

Author: Andrew /

Hey all!


This is the new post for the campaign that's coming up. This post is for character concepts and discussion. Allow me to put a few guidelines down:

-Characters will be level 1
-Standard point builds. If you use the character creator, it should never say "houseruled". If you're using "point buy" out of the book, the point pool is 22 with all stats at 10 except for one, which starts at 8 (this is off the top of my head, but it should be right). You may also just use a standard array for ease.
-Equipment will be very limited, run all needs and ideas past me first and we will discuss what will be done.
-Race restrictions: Drow, Warforged, as well as monster races (these can be discussed and if the point is really compelling, I may allow it; but I'm leaning towards no).
-Class restrictions: None, although proprietary classes may be denied (although I think all should be alright).
-Ideally I'd like characters to be the same gender as the player. While this is of course not a demand or restriction and gender is a relatively small thing, I have yet to see a male player really get me to buy their female character (kinda the way that when I see George Clooney playing Batman, I never once go "That's Batman", I always remember it's George Clooney). It helps me stay immersed if the players can play convincing characters and most guys know how to be guys better than girls, from what I've seen. Not looking to start a debate, just stating how I feel.

I strongly advise subscribing to D&D Insider, as their Character Creator is just awesome. It's a tool I love to use and it makes character creation extremely easy and friendly and fast. If you can't afford it, it's no problem, but it's a handy tool if you can manage it.

Also, for those of you who don't know (or do but want a handy little list in front of you) here are certain party roles that you may want filled:
-Tank
-Primary Damage
-Crowd Management and Control
-Healing
-Buffs
-Party Speaker (primary social skills like Diplomacy)
-Skill Focussed
-Off-damage / other focus

None of these are mandatory of course; you could all theoretically play Tanks if you wanted, I'm just listing these as a reference. I look forward to seeing what you've all got.

The new direction of D&D 4th Ed

Author: Andrew /

Hey all!

I know I haven't posted in a while but I wanted to throw this out there. I know in the past, we've had discussions about 4th ed; lots of them good, some of them bad (as in what's wrong with the system). There were things like the lack of important, powerful feeling feats, classes that felt too similar, languages were a bit funky, ect.

Well, I just recently picked up the new Red Box which is heralding the release of the D&D Essentials line. This is a the beginning of a new direction in 4th edition's design. Now, that's not to say that the old 4th ed books are worthless, they're not. They'll be fully compatible, and usable in any 4th ed game you play, so all that hard-earned cash you (and I) spent on building up a big fat 4th ed library was not in vain.

That being said, 4th ed is now being taken over by Mike Mearls, who is overseeing the bulk of design on D&D and I, for one, am glad he is. He holds a reverence for 1st edition D&D and what D&D actually "IS". What it "is" is a bit of an odd concept, at times, but bear with me.

To me, I think D&D is an experience that evokes a certain feeling. Sometimes when you play an MMO, your character feels like a stack of numbers meant to do a job and there's nothing organic or lifelike about it. It doesn't pull you in, it doesn't engage you and it doesn't make you sit up and pay attention, hanging on the edge of your seat. I know there's been the talk that D&D 4th ed is trying to be an MMO (on paper) and I still disagree, but I do see the things that are similar and why people gripe about it. Some of the things in there, while balanced FANTASTICALLY, do seem to play very closely to one another and you don't feel like your character is really their own person. It more tends to feel like "Uh... I'm a fighter and I do a d8 worth of damage with my sword... My buddy is a wizard and does a d8 with one of his 'spells'." It felt ridiculous in that regard.

Essentials is bring about new things and I will put links so you can all go check out the neat things involved. One example is the fighter in "Heroes of the Fallen Lands." HotFL is the first class book to be published in the Essentials line. It will cover the fighter, the cleric, the rogue, and the wizard (all the iconic classes). They offer new builds with new options.

The fighter, for example, gets stances. These can be used instead of dailies. This is a quoted part off the website explaining stances:

"Level 1: Fighter Stances

Fighters learn a number of stances, special powers that combine positioning, footwork, and combat tactics to maximum effect. A stance allows you to customize your approach for fighting different enemies. Against a massive ogre, battle wrath allows a knight to overcome that creature’s impressive hit points more quickly. Against monsters that gain advantage from flanking you, measured cut lets you stay in motion to keep them out of position."

There are more things too but that's one of them.

I, for one, am very excited and can't wait to see the rest. I have the Red Box and for $20, it's a dang good deal and the perfect thing for introducing someone new to the wonderful game we all know and love. Here are some links (Check out the one at The Escapist for sure, it's an interview with Mike Mearls and answers a lot of questions about the design choices in the past and the direction going forward).

Escapist Article

Fighter 1

Fighter 2

Cleric

Wizard

Rogue

Hope this was interesting for you guys!

~Andrew


Bringing it all back...

Author: Andrew /

Hey all! I'm really sorry for the long hiatus. I'd like to explain the reason(s).

1) Just plain busy - My life has been a bit hectic since I wrote last. I've gone through some major life changes, from family events and instances to work related things and other personal stuff. Barring getting into to much detail, lets just say they should be taken care of, one way or another, within a few months.

2) Work - I've been searching and searching for work in a game-industry related capacity since I've been out of school. That's taken me to points where I just had very little energy and it drove a lot of inspiration out of me. The job search for anyone to get ANY job right now is hard, not to mention finding one in a specific industry, let alone one as small and tightly knit as the game industry. That being said, on June 14th, 2010, I succeeded! I am now a professional Game Master on an online free-to-play MMO called Luna Online. It's a super-cute little anime themed MMO and I love my job. That's one distraction out of the way. =]

3) Lack of Inspiration - Through all this, I was just feeling more and more drained. I was feeling like readers were tapering off and that the interest that was there or at least that I was hoping would be there, wasn't. It was my goal to make a site where issues about the game would be discussed and I just, at times, didn't feel like there was much discussion. Also another big culprit was that I'd been trying to DM, just to have SOME vestige of D&D in my life when at my core, I'm much more a "player" type. My own personality goes more towards knowing what it takes to DM and assisting a DM when they're doing it, versus doing the whole GM task myself. My mind tends to gravitate much more towards creating a player with a solid, well crafted backstory, who plays well and is interesting and exploring the mechanics of the game through that form of play versus overall direction. I understand DMing, but when it's all I do, I feel drained and like a vital area of me is not being satisfied.

ALL THAT BEING SAID....

I'm looking into moving nearer to work and once I do, I'll be joining up with a D&D game that is in progress here at work. The game involves a lot of players new to the game, which is very exciting, we they can really be taught the right way of things right off the bat, and made into some great players. Also, god willing, I'll be able to join back up with some of my old gaming buddies and be involved with a second game in that regard. I miss having a few games going at once. We'll see how it goes. I plan on trying to restart this blog and post more thoughts on my experiences as they come. I hope you all start reading again!

~Andrew

Playing Well With Others

Author: Andrew /

Hey all, the Take is back! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years and got tons of great gamer gifts because, lets face it, you can never really have enough, eh?! Anyways, lets hop to it.


Just this week, I was reading a post that Chris Perkins (Creative Manager for Wizards) did on role playing and balancing it with the game. Here's the link, check it out, read it, then come back.

http://wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dred/2010January

Alright, now that you're back, lets talk. I think there were some great points made in there, mainly about the balance there needs to be in a game and times where (be ready to shudder) meta gaming is OK.

Something I run into a lot is that a lot of us, myself included, enjoy making interesting characters; characters that wouldn't be your "standard" adventurer. That said, I think that can lead us to making characters that can make party dynamics difficult. Things such as characters that are surly or who just don't get along with any other characters or characters who are, for other reasons, really not suited to adventuring can really throw a party out of whack.

In the end, D&D is a game, like any other and there are certain considerations to be made, the main one being "Is everyone at the table going to be able to have fun with my idea?" If the answer to that isn't "Yes," then there needs to be some re-vamping done. There are lots of ideas out there that may make for an excellent book character or a movie character, but in this case, the character needs to be thought of as a component of a larger whole; as a member of a group instead of an entity completely alone.

I really like the way Mr. Perkins put it.

"... these players typically fall back on the defense of, “that’s what my character would do.” There are variants: “I don’t think my character would know that.” Or “This is the character I made.” They boil down to the same excuse, and regardless of the rationale, it’s lame."

That about hits the nail on the head. The excuses that players use when a character is doing something that hinders the party because it "fits the character" more can get really lame. In a cooperative game, the main consideration should be "This is what's best for the party and, correct "role playing" or not, this is what's best for the party."

So, in the spirit of the new year, I'm backing an RP change. Let's not make RP foremost anymore. Lets keep it alive, lets let it breathe, but lets think of our fellow gamers first and make it our primary goal to play well with others, then make a cool role play experience.

Happy Holidays 2009

Author: Andrew /

Hey all,


The holidays are approaching and that means things are gonna be even busier than usual. That said, I just wanted to let you guys know that the take may be chillin out for a bit, through the holidays. I may have time to get a post in here or there, but I'm not sure.

That said, I wanted to wish you all a blessed Christmas and a bright and happy New Year and thank you for helping The Take get to where it is. You've all been instrumental and you're all awesome.

So, until next time, play tons of games, get tons of awesome ideas!

Catch yaz on the flip side!

~Andrew