RPG Tangent - Borderlands

Author: Andrew /

So I just had a thought. D&D is a paper role playing game (that wasn't the thought). As a role playing game where the players design the experience, I think it's valid to look at other games that enhance (or possibly ruin...) our views and the way we design, run and play our D&D games. As such, I'm making an "RPG Tangent" set of posts to discuss other games that approach our genre and possible things we can pull from these experiences.

So, the game in question today?


Borderlands is an awesome little gem of a video-game created by Gearbox. It's being marketed as an "RPS" or a role-playing-shooter. Their entire goal was to take elements of popular games of late such as the likes of Doom3, Fallout 3, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Mass Effect, etc (popular shooters and role playing games in the video game market) and make a game that blends the features of these games into one insane, awesome, shoot-fest with integrated gameplay elements of a role playing game.

Essentially, what Borderlands feels like to me is a first-person Diablo with guns and less role play. Now, usually, I'm all for RP and think "the more, the merrier!" but in the case of Borderlands, I never felt I needed it. It wasn't a world I felt like impacting with words and the sheer absense of friendly NPCs around (save your home bases scattered about) makes the player not really mind being unable to chew the fat with the locals.

The game takes place on Pandora which is some weird kind Mad-Max rip off with a stylized western feel. Most of the local friendly NPCs are backwater-yokle types with a country twang that really works. The vast majority of the dialogue cracks me up all the time and the NPCs do their job of serving up missions (or quests, if you must) and spicing it up with some good-ole, down home plain talkin'.

The story is baseline at best. You're one of four mercenaries, Mordecai - the scout, Lilith - the siren (the stealthy one), Roland - the soldier and Brick - the.... well, Brick. You're hunting for "The Vault", a rumored cache of alien weapons and technology. That's about it. You start in a town made of ramschackle tin shacks and blown out barracks, etc. You check the bounty boards, the claptrap robots (who are hilarious) and the NPCs talk "redneck" style to ya and it's great.

So, the story is shallow / simple, the role-playing is nonexistent, so what's so great about Borderlands? The combo of the things they put in the game.

You know loot? PHAT loots, even? Yeah, this game is riddled with it. There are literally hundreds of THOUSANDS of guns, if not more. The trailer actually advertizes 87 BAZILLION guns! This is really sweet, in that they actually went to the trouble of developing a separate AI purely for procedurally generating guns. There are fictional gun manufacturing companies that make all these guns with varying stats such as damage, accuracy and fire rate. There are also variables and bonuses that some might have such as increased clip size, improved rate of fire, increased damage, elemental damage (caustic acid, explosions, fire, etc), etc. Every gun has rarity color taken straight from WoW (white-green-blue-purple-orange). One of the things that makes this a blast (pun very much intended) is getting a new gun and testing it on some of the crazed maniac bandits and beasties that roam the wasteland of pandora. You go out with your new shotgun, sniper rifle, machine gun or what have you, and blow-stuff-up!

One other thing that makes this a great game is the upgradable elements. You upgrade the weapon slots you have. You start out being able to only carry two weapons at a time, but as things go on, you unlock slots to be able to cary up to four. You have slots for class ability upgrades, shield upgrades, grenade upgrades (the grenades in the game are normal and you purchase or find upgrades that apply properties to them such as sticky, bouncy, proximity mines, health-stealing, etc), etc.

There are also the skill-trees. Like Diablo and WoW and many other games now that give you "skill paths" to follow, you've got that in Borderlands too. Playing Brick, I was able to go with either a brawler tree (where you beef up his special ability to go crazy and start beating the living daylights out of everything in sight), the tank tree (where you beef up his ability to take damage, thereby triggering great offensive abilities when in the thick of things) and the blaster tree (where you upgrade things that beef up his explosives, usually). You can put points into any tree you like, mix 'n' match, etc and it's great. All the skills are useful and what's more, they're really fun. One of the ending blaster skills even allows Brick to regen rockets for his rocket launcher, 2 every minute! Yes, some of the skills are silly, but the entire game is over the top and it's pure and total entertainment.

The style of the game is awesome as well. The graphical style (which they're calling "concept art style" *yawn*) is, as Peter Griffin would say, "freakin' sweet!". Everything is done with a mix of colors and browns and greys so things seem dusty, but not "un-vibrant". Everything is also given heavy, black linework throughout the textures, giving it an almost sketchy and comic-bookish style. I thought, going into it, that roaming a desert would be boring, but it's far from it. The art is varied and the characters are interesting to look at and everything just feels great.

The sound quality is great and the gameplay is tight and responsive. Borderlands makes no bones about what it does and it does it all really well.

The one gripe I have about this game is the multiplayer. When it works, it works great, but getting your networking to work well (and this is just on PC) can be a bit of a pain. You usually have to open some ports on your computer's router and make sure the connection is working right. That said, it's not THAT hard to work and what's more, not everyone has to do this. From what I've heard, they're working on fixing the networking problem as well. If you don't want to futz with that, it's also available for 360 and PS3. This is NOT a game breaker by any means, just a minor annoyance.

What can we learn from this? Sometimes a brawl really is a fun part of the game. RP is great and has its place for sure, but sometimes it's nice to just whip your sword or axe or magic impliment out and go crazy on some bad guys. Sometimes RP can be its own reward but sometimes it's a blast to just wade through a pile of gold and weapons and get all decked out. Sometimes seriousness is great and can set an awesome mood, but so can humor and hysterics, if done right. Borderlands is a shining example of this and I think everyone should pick this up and enjoy it. I, having seen game design, learning it and trying it, can tell that this is a massive labor of love, with an approach where the creators unabashadly took inspiration from other games in the industry by name, instead of keeping it all a secret, not caring that something might look like a rip-off. Their goal here was fun and I have to say, they succeeded with flying colors and a little (ok, a lot) of blood-spatter!

It's rated M for crazy shooter violence, some language and over-the-top Mad-Max fun!

I hope this gives you guys some fun ideas and also gives ya something to pick up and play with on your computers (or your PS3 or 360). HAPPY GAMING!



Author: Andrew /

Hey all; I was doing some thinking and I realized that I haven't written in a while and what's more, it's been a REALLY long time since I made a post that wasn't "Ohdd" related. This stems from it a bit but it is, I promise, a genuine, bona-fide, real deal post. Enjoy!


So I was doing some thinking and the idea of "open-ended-ness" was on my mind. In my recent game I was able to run with some of the players involved, just to get the ball rolling, I discovered something. Well, in truth, I knew already, but more I ran into an obstacle I had thought about but one I hadn't actually coped with in a game situation.

That thing is an open ended setting.

In my mind, I really dislike railroading characters. I don't want to force them into anything and I sometimes would like to see them really run around with the setting and have some fun with it. I see settings such as Forgotton Realms and Eberron and even Dark Sun (the new setting being published by Wizards of the Coast) and I want to build that. All told, I have the basis for that with Telain and it's well on its way. That said, trying to build a campaign while having some things planned and at the same having some other things not planned at all can lead to problems.

Firstly, it's very important to have all players on the same page. There was a point in the game, for instance, where a player was unable to make it for the first section of the game, which is fine. I was told to run the player's character as an NPC, so I did. Things went fine but one problem I encountered was that a DM can play a PC very differently than a player has in mind and there can be conflict there. When the player was able to show up, he took over the character and there was a drastic shift in said character. The way I played him and the way that the player played him was hugely different and threw off some players who quickly got used to my way, and then switched. This was a large learning experience for me, and thank you to the players involved for helping me learn this. It was a good experience.

For other sessions, it's fine if a player can't make it for some or all of it. For first session (or a character's first session) they need to be there to establish the character in the way they want them portrayed. Once the DM can see how the character is supposed to be portrayed, the character can be DM run in certain circumstances without a continuity problem. That said, things managed to get on track.

Secondly, having a major plot hook for the group to follow is also very important. This may seem like a "No Duh" point, but it's slightly more complicated. Being the type of player and overall person I am, I love great story. This means I love great backstories. Therefore, I push players to have great backstories themselves. The problem with this is that sometimes the player's backstories are so far from one another or they are so deep or have so many details that impact the character in a large way that bringing the party of characters together can be very difficult or may even seem impossible.

The problem I think I've run into is this. I think I have a problem with the term "backstory". I like backstories. I like backgrounds where characters have done things or things that explain why they are the way they are. The problem I've faced is when backstories lack the ability to adapt to many situations. I think what I really like to see are players who just understand their characters.

So often I see players (I've even been this player many times) who roll up a character, see the numbers and whatnot and think it's go time, but when they get to the table, it's just the player and the character itself seems absent. It seems like "John" and not "Regvemar the barbarian". I think that this stems from certain players having little interest in the character side of things or possibly just not knowing how to go about figuring out the "What's my character like as a person?" question.

Also, it's my fault, as a DM. A lot of times, I push for backstory. I push for role play. A lot of times, I feel I can come off as elitest and force things from players that I want when it may not be things that the players want. Granted, sometimes a DM has to say "no" when it's appropriate and saying "yes" all the time can lead to problems and frustration, and it also doesn't make anyone happy.

So, to kind of sum up my random thoughts, open-ended-ness and open world is great. But that means being open to lots of things and sometimes being too open can cause problems. Guidelines are ok and having a target to hit or a destination to go to doesn't make a game poor in any fashion.

Also, certain players like certain things. Certain players don't want to come up with huge backstories and role-play til their eye's bug out, and other players don't want combat after combat, sometimes they want to talk and role-play and enjoy themselves in that fashion.

So, from here on out, I'm going to make an effort to be a better and different DM.


This is a note to my Ohdd players:

Guys, first of all, I want to tell you you're all great (whether I've gotten a chance to play with you yet or not, believe me, I want to). I've gamed with almost all of you at one point or another and I see value in each and every one of you. I know that there have been some conflicts and and there have been some miscommunications and I know that I've not shared my vision as best I can because I wanted to keep a sense of mystery about my plans. I realize that I want to do that now.

My desire for the Ohdd game's set-up was something of an MMO style set up, in that I wanted to have an open city in which the character party could go around, see tons of neat things, and run into characters, sometimes "average joes" on the street, talk to them, and find things out about the people and gain quests that way. I wanted quests to come up from exploration, instead of the more traditional exploration steming from quests.

The city was designed with many buildings and I don't believe that I showcased it very well. I have a world map and I have a city map but those don't do the city literary justice and I did a poor job of portraying the city and I want to remedy that.

Players, I also want to say this. I am sorry if you feel that I forced you into making a backstory or forced you into playing in a way that you didn't want to, that isn't fun for you. This is a game and it should be fun. If you are unhappy with your character or if you'd like to make some changes, please talk to me. Send me an e mail at -andrew.geertsen[at]gmail[dot]com- (put those in to avoid net-trolling spiders lol).

So, as a final treat for you guys putting up with all this, here is a description of Ohdd that I hope does it justice. Enjoy!


"Ohdd is a city that was named after it's quality. In this city, there really is a bit of everything. If you were to walk across The Bridge to Away, into the city, you would see things that would amuse, baffle and intrigue you. There are places within Ohdd that bend the mind, incite booming laughter and sometimes just simply raise an eyebrow in confusion.

"Surrounding the city is a massive towering barrier called 'The Shifting Wall'. The shifting wall was designed by the most powerful wielders of magic in the city (who are quite powerful indeed) to protect the city from any possible outside threats for as one of the aforementioned magic-weilders was quoted as saying "There's gotta be some out there somewhere, right?" The Shifting Wall is just that, a magically shifting wall. It towers fifty feet in the air and is ten feet thick. The wall magically shifts every once in a while to another "kind" of wall, every time remaining within the dimensions of fifty feet tall and ten feet thick. Sometimes it might be solid, seamless stone and other times it may be a massive sheet of iron. Other times the space may be filled with roiling fire or churning water or possibly an ever undulating mass of vines. There are many forms the wall can take, all of which inspire a new feeling of awe and adds something interesting each day to the lives of the residents of Ohdd. 'What's the wall going to be today?!'

"The powerful magic users mentioned above are called 'The Sparklers'. If you were to ask one of them, most would tell you straight out that they hate the name. They take themselves very seriously and it was because of this that, sometime a ways back, a bard in posession of some great mass of nerves, decided to dub them something rather less than intimidating. He called them 'The Sparklers'. Try as they might to convince everyone they were 'Mages' of the highest order and 'Wizards' who defy the elements and bend reality to their will, alas, to their chagrin, the name stuck and whenever someone mentions them, it's not uncommon to hear a giggle or a stifled chuckle come from somewhere nearby.

"The Sparklers reside inside what has been dubbed, accordingly, 'The Sparkling Hall'. This is a place where those of the magic occupation study and hone their craft. It is a place of class and intelligence and, at some points, some eccentricities. It is crafted of beautiful stone, carved wood and inlaid stone. It rises about three stories on the outside, but who can speak for the inside but those who are, in fact, inside?

"Another main facet of the city is its greatest and, indeed its only tavern, the Nervat. The Nervat is run by a half-elf named Severius Wilkins. Wilkins is known to most to be a wonderful host who is not above getting to know his patrons and sitting down for a drink or two... or three... or four... after all, it's his place, eh?! The Nervat is a place laced with magic. All the tables sport a small flame in a brass bowl, sitting in the middle of the table, and next to it, a small stack of papers and a pen of some sort. All a patron need do is write their order on a slip of the paper, toss it into the happily dancing flame and it burns away. Shortly thereafter, they can expect their order to be brought out to their table by hand, with expedious service.

"The Nervat is constantly growing as Wilkins indeed loves to see his place expand. In constructing The Nervat, he built a bottom floor that anyone would consider large, but not massive by any stretch; but as time went on and he kept building, the Nervat took on a look and presence all his own. Enlisting the assistance of The Sparklers (you hear a giggle coming from another room), the buildings floors expand outward to points where they would most assuredly collapse if it weren't for the help of enchantments placed on the building materials to support the structure. The Nervat is indeed one of the wonders of Ohdd.

"Also there is the "No Way Out Current" that surrounds the city. Folk from outside Ohdd tend to find it rather bemusing when they come that there is, in fact, this large waterway that, in the end, doesn't go anywhere but.... well, around. An inlet from the sea lets water in and it is carried in via a current. The current, however, simply comes in one way and it goes in a large circle, reconnecting at the origin and feeding into itself. The current is rather strong so once on it, a boat would not be able to leave through the inlet. In order to stop ships from entering, a gate was built over the inlet so that boats would not be trapped within the current. Boats have been built in Ohdd, though, and they're used for mass trasportation to other sides of Ohdd, as there are four major docks.

"If one was to look at Ohdd, they would see many things. At night, they would run into small groups of zombies roaming the streets, during the day, large groups of bustling people running hither and thither, going about their days. You would see cobbled streets, houses leaning over the major thoroughfares as if to try to get a really good look at the action. You would see vendors on The Trodden Way, hawking their goods to one and all. You would see performers from large stilt walkers to jugglers, to fire spitters, to sword swallowers. You would find races unique and common, interesting and not. You would see amusing, confusing, interesting and troublesome types all. Ohdd is a place of strageness, wonder and absolute personality. One does not go to Ohdd to find experiences. One comes to Ohdd to experience Ohdd itself."

Welcome =]



P.S. - I'm currently about to acquire a new computer and as of Thursday, Oct 22nd, I'll be switching over my system. I'll be copying files and whatnot and just settling into it. On top of that, I've got some games I've really been wanting to try and plan on putting some time in to get my inspiration going. Some of the games I plan to try will include Borderlands and Dragon Age: Origins. They look great and like they merit some checking out. I mean, a game that actually says, in their trailer, that The RPG and the FPS just made a baby and that they have 87 bazillion guns has gotta be fun! Dragon Age is from Bioware, who are the makers of just about all the classic D&D video games made to date, including Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 as well as the new Sci-Fi franchise, Mass Effect (whose sequel is coming early next year, if I heard right). I plan on checking these games. Also my birthday is coming up on the 27th, I've been getting about 20 hours a week at work and I've got plans on the weekend to celebrate my birthday, as I work during the week and so does the woman I plan to celebrate with. On top of THAT, the holidays are approaching so I know we'll all be busy and I just want to forwarn everyone that there may be large stretches where an Ohdd game may not be possible. I'll do my best to work something out, I just wanted to give all of you my status. Thanks again, all of you, for your vigilence and support with The D&D Take. It's alive and well and has really been awesome so far. I plan on posting more perspectives and thoughts on the game in general and hopefully we can all find ways to become better gamers! Thanks again!

Schedules for Ohdd

Author: Andrew /

Alright all, we're running into an issue with Ohdd and that issue is scheduling.

I, myself, have a random schedule as per what Starbucks needs on a weekly basis. It varies and there really isn't much I can do about it.

Chris' schedule is:
Mondays: Class @ 6pm, unable to play
Tuesdays: Free
Wednesdays: Free
Thursdays: Free, but not preferred (morning class next day)
Fridays: Class from 8:30 AM - 5 PM, evenings are okay
Saturdays: Not an option.
Sundays: Free

Lincoln can usually play whenever assuming it's after 4pm or so.

Magus, I've not received a schedule from you. If you could provide one, that would be excellent.

Adam, from what I read, you can't do Thursdays but do you think you could provide a schedule for your weeks, just so we can get a good look?

From what I'm seeing, our available days right now are tuesday and wednesday unless someone can make some changes.

Thanks for all your help,


Ohdd Expectations

Author: Andrew /

Alright guys, it looks like we're about ready to roll out Ohdd. We've got maps, we've got back-stories, we've got ties, we've got the characters themselves, we've got a city with all sorts of neat stuff to see, we've got a pantheon and we've got 5 players chompin' at the bit to get their game on and who would I be to say no? Well, the DM, but thanks to the DMG, I know one of the first fundamental rules of running is "Say YES!" =]

So, in this final big post before the game starts, I'd like to know some expectations you guys have for the game. I have some ideas as far as theme goes that I'm going to attempt to work into the game to the best of my ability and I want you guys to have fun. The main things I'm going to go for are:

-Tinge of randomness

Humor - In Ohdd, I plan on having stuff that'll make you laugh or at least cock your head to the side and go "Whaaaat?" I plan on the city popping stuff up that you'll at least chuckle at and things that aren't too overtly serious. This is much easier done than said but suffice it to say, I'm taking this game with a smile on my face and I think a little laughter will be good. That said, I'll want some serious moments too.

Adventure - Everyone likes a little action and I plan on giving that to you, the players. I plan on giving you choice with, most likely, a bit of guidance if it comes to that. The only thing I'm going for at the moment, is keeping things within the city.

Exploration - That said, while I want the game taking place in the city, the city is very large with lots in it (some things I may not even know about) and there's lots of room to go around and see things. You don't normally have to stick to the story either. There are lots of things to do and if you guys think of something else you want to go off and try, there's no problem.

A Tinge of Randomness - I've found in the recent past that I have a bit of a talent for coming up with off the wall stuff and I want to integrate into the game, making for memorable moments and things that'll make you laugh, jump or just smile and enjoy. I like throwing stuff into the mix that will give you something to talk about even years later. "You remember that time when we...?" I want lots of those.

Anyways, all, The Gates of Ohdd are about to open and I'm glad you're here to share this with me. This will be my first truely home-brewed campaign, Ohdd being the first city in the wide... wide... wiiiide world of Telain (a much more serious place than Ohdd, itself) and I hope it's a treat for you all. Thanks again for all your help, I think this'll be a blast!

With the most sincere gratitude to all my readers and my team of players,


Ohdd Tie-In Stories

Author: Andrew /

"Play fair," whispered the dark elf to himself, "that's what I say. You don't cheat me. You cheat me and you're stealing. You steal from me, and I do you one better; that's just how it's gotta be."

Clothed in black, he shimmied up the drainpipe alongside the house. Holding on with one hand, he found the edge of a window into the upstairs hallway and nudged it up, pushed it open and slunk inside. Staying low, he crept down the hallway. The carpet on the floor was actually rather nice. Not rich by any means, but not bad certainly; comfortable. The hall was dark and all was quiet. Outside he heard some footsteps going by down the cobbled road. Someone always seemed to be up in this city. Not much different from home or, well, what was home.

He moved along the wall to the first door on the right and put his ear to it. He tested the doorknob and sure enough, not locked. He eased the door open, creaking gently but not loudly, peering into the room. Pitch black. He slipped into the room, clicking the door shut behind him quietly. His eyes adjusting even more so to the darkness, he began to see even more clearly. There was the cheating scum, snoring away sleeping deeply. Dirzjra crept up alongside the bed and slid out a knife.

"Payment with interest..."

He leaned over the sleeping man, snoring away. He took the knife, and put it to the cheater's throat. His arm tensed and-


The door splintered apart with a crash and a sunrod flew through the door illuminating the room.


A figure was standing in the splintered doorway, dressed in leathers, long cloak rustling around it, mask covering its face. It had a small, yet menacing crossbow in each hand pointed straight at the man in his bed. The eyes above the mask went wide, seeing more in the room than she expected.

Dirzjra looked at the figure in the doorway, eyes equally wide.

"What the?"

"Who are-?"

The man was lying in the bed, now quite awake, looking at the knife over his throat, eyes bugging out of his skull in surprise, mouth hanging open. He looked at Dirzjra, then at the figure in the doorway. Dirzjra looked at the man. The figure looked at the man. Dirzjra and the figure looked at each other, surprise being the only prevalent feeling in the room. Everything was still for a split second.

Snapping out of it, Dirzjra slashed the bedded fellow's throat, pulling the blood-gushing corpse towards him just as the two crossbows twanged. A bolt blew through the body's shoulder and thudded into the wooden headboard, splinters flying. The second crashed into the dead body's head with a crack and splatter, right where Dirzjra's head was a moment earlier. Dirzjra jumped back from the body looking towards the shooter in the doorway. He pointed his dagger threateningly at the figure. The figure dropped it's bows and pulled out a dagger as well and pointed it in an equally threatening manner.

"Who're you?!" asked the drow.

"Who're you?!" asked the figure in the door, voice appearing to be female.

"I'm settling a debt, what're you here for?!"

"I'm here to take him out, on a job!"

The both looked at each other, eyes narrowed. They both looked at the dead body on the floor, blood pooling under the head, and gaping shoulder wound. They both looked to each other.

"I'm not here for you, whoever you are," said the woman.

"Then put your knife down," said the drow



More staring.

They both slowly lowered their knives and sheathed them. Dirzjra looked the woman up and down, then back to the body and finally relaxed a bit. "Bit of a mess, eh?"

"Yeah, gotta say I wasn't expecting that... How'd you get in here so well, I've been staking out the place for about twenty minutes?"

"Through the window just down the hall, just snuck in."

"Ah..." She looked around at the debris by the door.

Dirzjra went over to a bureau and rifled through the man's belongings and found a purse with some gold coins. "We're square" he said to the shocked looking body on the floor.

"Well," he said brightly to the woman "Have a pleasant evening." and left before she could reply. He shimmied out the window and up onto the roof. He waited a while until he saw a dark figure leave, quietly and quickly. She walked through a few alleys, wound through town between houses and entered an abandoned, rundown house. It was large, once very nice but now old, moss covered and boarded up. There was an iron fence around the place, the gate barely hanging on it's old hinges.

He followed the woman inside. She heard voices coming from inside.

"So you got him?"

"Of course. Have I ever failed you?"

She was speaking with a guard in bright plate.

The drow sat just outside the room on the upstairs landing, shifted his weight just a bit and creeaak, the old wood cried into the darkness. The conversation stopped and he heard footsteps come across the floor. Before he realized how close they were, a metal covered hand reached around the doorway, grabbing him and throwing him into the room.

The room was lit by a fire in a small fireplace and over him stood the woman from the man's house and what seemed to be a member of the Shiny Guard who was looking rather grim. "What the?!"

He was about to start whaling on the startled drow when the woman said "DON'T! Don't, Korban, he's alright. I actually ran into him on the hit. He must have followed me. He could have come after me several times, I imagine, but he obviously didn't. Let him be, let him be."

The man called Korban let the drow go, as Dirzjra fell to the floor gasping. "What's your name, dark elf?"

"Dirzjra, my name's Dirzjra. Who in the name of the night are you people? What the Hells is this?"

She looked to the man called Korban, looked at the drow, looked back and went off aside and started whispering and gesturing wildly. Korban looked worried, stuck his fingers up on his ears and jerked his thumb across his throat. The woman looked like she was trying to calm him down. He heaved a sigh and nodded. The woman came over and offered the drow her hand to get up.

"My name is Eliza and this fellow is Korban. We do bounty work. He's a member of the guard. We act as somewhat of a vigilante group within the city. We're not really known to anyone, he simply brings bounties to me, I track them down. Sometimes he helps but that's about the gist of it. Here's the problem though; we like to keep this quiet and honestly, we don't so much know that you'll keep this to yourself. If the guard knew he was assisting in favor of a bounty hunter before the guards got wind of it. So long as the targets get taken care of, though, all is well. So, I'm going to pose a proposal to you. You help us and join our team or we, well, you can imagine the alternative."

Dirzjra thought for a moment. Might be a good way to bring in cash. Bounties are usually for people who've got it coming anyway and out here things seem pretty legitimate, way more so than home at least. What've I got to lose?

"Sure, I'll help you out. I get a cut of the action?"

"Yeah, in more ways than one."

They all shook hands and the deal was made.


A few weeks later, Korban came into the old house with news. "You guys, you may want to hear this. So you know the old art museum place? The Galleria Eternia? Yeah, well that old oddball Barrochio's gone missin'. I know, crazy right? He's been there for ages, but so's that guard of his. I think her name's Minli. A few of the boys in the guard fancy her a bit. Odd enough is that she hasn't seemed to take to any of em. Seems to keep to herself. Just look out if you want into the gallery. She seems rather picky sometimes.

"Anyways, one day he was there, next day, gone. Minli says she went to look for the guy but he wasn't there. The courts don't know what to make of it. They think Minli's the prime suspect. No one else was around and a lot of people could testify to her seeming less than happy with her post. Problem is, no one can actually prove she got rid of the bastard. The word around the guard is they think she did the poor guy in and ditched the body in the night but who knows. No proof, no blood, no notes, no clues, nothin'. Just gone without a trace. This half elf fella who I've not seen before, name of 'Rho' took the case and got her off on the pure fact that there's no evidence she did it. They didn't totally let her off the hook, though. They let her off with the condition that she's not the responsibility of Rho. They said 'You go with him or come with us.' You can imagine what she picked.

"So, here's where we come in. Sounds like they want to find out what happened to Rockio and could use a hand and I imagine the guys that find out what happened might get a hefty reward, especially if he's alive. I mean, the guy made priceless artwork and was divinely empowered, though if you ask me, I dunno where that went. I think if we help these two, it might just lead to some good stuff, for sure. What do you guys think?"

Eliza and Dirzjra looked at Korban, then each other.

"We have any other contracts?" asked Eliza

"It's bone dry right now."

"Hmm... No reason not to, then, eh? Dirz?"

"Sounds good to me. Should we go find this guy?"

"He's over at the Galleria. Lookin for clues I'm guessin'. Shall we?"

Nothing more needed be said. They three headed out and found Rho and Minli.

"We here you're lookin' for help with your search." said Korban.

"Well well, I do indeed! This troubles me and I'm smelling something here that's not right." Said Rho "I don't know much about the gods but from what Minli here tells me, Barrochio was a special favorite of Folio, the god of art himself. Just disappearing out of nowhere, seems unlikely but all the same, he's not here. Hmmm...."

"Barrochio was a conceited, vain and stuck up snob. To tell the truth, between us, I don't know if I'm so disappointed he's gone... We should look but... well... I don't know. Do you know how long I've been a guard here? For EVER!" She screamed and smashed a sculpture with no discernible form. "The bastard treated me like I was uncultured, and beneath him. He kept me around because he knew that if it came to it, he couldn't defend himself to... well... save his life. I'm not sure what I want to do about all this..."

"Well," said Rho, "I think I've got something here. I knew something smelled odd, just couldn't think of what. Now I'm realizing what it is. It's this energy in the air. When you're around magic, you can sometimes get a sense of electricity in the air when something happens and I've seen this before. Some two-bit wizard I defended a ways back accidentally botched a trick with an assistant. He used portals in the tricks and lets just say his volunteer was none too happy and is sans one foot now. Ah well. She's alive. Anyway, Portals leave this energy behind and that's what I'm getting here. I don't know if he did, but I'm thinking he," and he looked at the group around him, "might have left..."

Deities of Telain

Author: Andrew /

These are the gods of Telain. Most are recognized by the populace but some are not. Some are recognized by only a sect or group of people, or by certain people at certain times. Some of the gods love to get involved in mortal affairs, some do not. These are just brief glimpses at them, so you may see their names. Chances are, you will not encounter these beings or, if you do, it will be a rare moment; but the chances of you running into someone who follows one or more of them is much more likely. Enjoy the peek!

The Gods of Telain

Greater Gods

Creation - Araelian

Residence: Upper Celestia
Attitude: Benevolent
Influence: Massive
Recognition: Worldwide

Love - Thirian

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Loving and peaceful.
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Justice - Croe

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Stern
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

War - Brodin

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Brash and enthusiastic
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Peace - Cres

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Calm
Influence: Mild
Recognition: Worldwide

Nature - Quori

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Detached
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Animals - Coh

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Detached, quick-tempered
Influence: Weak
Recognition: Sect

Death - Merath

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Passive
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Magic - Sylian

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Intense and Superior
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Knowledge - Hosartia

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Peaceful and Wise
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Civilization - Grenaht

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Enthusiastic and Ambitious
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Malice - Roggom

Residence: The Abyss
Attitude: Angry and Bitter
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Lesser Gods

Shadows and Trickery - Krillist

Residence: Moving
Attitude: Myrthful, Cryptic
Influence: Mild
Recognition: Sect

Ice - Xis

Residence: The Elemental Layer
Attitude: Distant, Uncaring, Cold
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Regional

Fire - Ohr

Residence: The Elemental Layer
Attitude: Rash, Quick Tempered, Unpredictable
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Regional

Air - Sialli

Residence: The Elemental Layer
Attitude: Precise, Rushed
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Earth - Toras

Residence: The Elemental Layer
Attitude: Slow, Strong, Reserved
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Water - Thovrum
Residence: The Elemental Layer
Attitude: Fickle, Moody
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Light - Wevryn

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Happy, Bright, Positive
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Darkness - Tysh

Residence: The Abyss
Attitude: Brooding, Disdainful, Dark
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

Travel - Rittran

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Friendly, Curious
Influence: Mild
Recognition: Worldwide

Dreams - Fytrea

Residence: The Realm of Dreams
Attitude: Passive, Aloof, Cryptic
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Sect

Art - Folio

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Imperious, Eletist, Haughty, Cultured
Influence: Mild
Recognition: Worldwide

Reverie - Alustio

Residence: Celestia
Attitude: Exhuberant, Joyful, Ecstatic
Influence: Strong
Recognition: Worldwide

(Telain and all related material are copyright Andrew Geertsen 2009)

Ohdd City Map

Author: Andrew /

Alright guys, here's a little taste. Welcome to Ohdd.

Ohdd City Map

Step 2: Ohdd Character Elaboration

Author: Andrew /

Alright, a lot of you have posted your character back-stories. Thus far, these are the classes we have:

Minli - Deva Paladin
Rho - Half-Elf Bard
Eliza - Human Rogue / Ranger

I know that there are two more players interested, at least, one of which may also want to play a Deva Paladin (He talked with me about his idea way way back). And I also know the other character is a rogue, if I remember right. As the back-stories come up, I can push and mold them and stick them in where they can go and we'll blend these chars together.

Alright, down to business.

Minli, I like your story for the most part. I'm altering a few things, if it's alright.
-Barrochio isn't gone.
-Now, to remain in keeping with the books (which I really want to do), Devas, when they die, do not wake up with accurate memory of their previous lives. They have vague memories, but they don't reincarnate as if they just woke up from a nap. It's a new character with a few shadows in the back from their previous lives; think of it almost like repressed memories, except you didn't repress them, it's just naturally that way. So, this is what I had in mind.

Minli hasn't ever really died, or perhaps she had, way way back in the first wars with the primordials and whatnot, but that was it. When she came back, the god who was in charge of her, Folio, decided she wasn't capable of being a "front-lines" soldier. He saw how you fell and was a tad disappointed so he re-posted you. You, having come back, don't really know what happened, so you accept your post. This post was being Barrochio's guard, and guard to the Galleria Eternia. Since it was such a mellow post, you haven't died. Being immortal, you've just been there the whole time and, as years go, are centuries old. You've been there since the Galleria was plans and stones scattered on the ground. You've seen Barrochio through all the stages of his work and come to know him on an almost first name basis. You still defer to him because your station demands it, but you don't necessarily like it. Through the ages, you've seen Barrochio go from being a literal instant master, creating works that defied comparrison to centuries later having grown lazy, listless and possibly even bored. His work still is good, to the casual observer or even occasionally the conniseurs but you, having seen his work over time, know it's not near what it used to be. You look at your current existence, seeing it as being a glorified door-woman simply existing to keep intruders out of a gallery which you, as time goes on, grow less confident that it's even worth guarding in the first place.

At current, you are doing your duty outside the Galleria Eternia with less than maximum enthusiasm, mulling over the conundrum that is Barrochio, and possibly even wondering what Folio sees in this and why he thought you needed to be the one to stand here.

-Do you, Minli, see this as an adequate compromise? I think this makes things fit with what you were going for in a backstory and still seems to me to fit within what the book says about Devas. I really like it, myself and it leaves me with options as to what I can do with your character.


Rho, I really like your story. It's rather simple but not to the point where it lacks things to play off of. What I would like to see from you, once we get a few more little stories up here, are a few ties with characters within the game party. Perhaps you can just start coming up with some ways your character could create ties with others?


Eliza, you're looking good so far, except that I'm not quite understanding your class and what you're saying your character is capable of. What I would like to see if your back story more clearly layed out and explained, or at least explain outside the backstory how your character will actually work.

Also, I'm not sure I'm going to have you working for the thieves guild, although I still may. A bounty hunter could be utilized by many sides, including even the actual law men themselves. You could even work as a contractor.


To you who haven't posted, post your backstories. They're important and factor greatly into the game and how we work with your characters. Once we have those, we can establish character ties, which I want to do here, and then we can get rolling! WooHoo!


I'm going to be working on finishing the pantheon as well as creating an actual map for Ohdd, so that we have something to reference, as it's taking place in a city with lots of neat places. Most of you will have been there for a month at least, if not more, so most of you should know the most basic places at least.

Players: refine your backstories and talk with other players to create ties between you. A good way to think about it is to have a character that has a strong positive tie to you and one where there's a "weak" negative tie. Not where there's genuine animosity but could perhaps create interesting playful banter, but will never risk true discord or disharmony within the group. Remember (I know I don't have to remind some of you) this is a party game where you're a team (or at least will be). Lets make this interesting.

Lets see a lot of posts and if you need help with your backstories or have questions about ANYTHING, feel free to let me know!

Looking forward to seeing your stuff!