Saturday, September 21, 2013

An Announcement From Perilous Journeys Publishing

I recently read the latest announcement from Perilous Journeys Publishing;  the original announcement can be read at this location at their website.  Think of this as a briefing on the state of the company and their games.  Plenty of exciting news was made available to the fans including:
  • Website has been redesigned.
  • New SteamCraft resources.
  • Free pdf with proof of purchase on an in-store purchase of SteamCraft.
  • SteamCraft expansion is coming soon.
  • A new edition of Perilous Journeys RPG.
  • more...
Stop by and check it out if you are interested in steampunk gaming.  They are up for an Airship Award and I will be doing an interview with Jamie Hardy on my blog soon.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 15 to 20

I know I am about to sound like a killjoy or something but I am not participating on days 15 to 20 of the D&D 30 Day Challenge because I feel that six posts about favorite monsters - even if they are split into separate types or categories of monsters - is just plain overkill.  I believe that asking for favorite and least favorite would have been quite sufficient and there could have been posts answering different questions such as:
What was the first module you played through?
Give some details about your first character?
Do you use Psionics in your game?

Did A/D&D lead you to other TSR games?
Did you ever use the advice in the DMG for mixing AD&D and Gamma World?

What game did you play as frequently as D&D?

Are you primarily a player or a DM?

Is there a campaign you have always wanted to run as a DM but never have?

There are eight quick example questions I come up with off the top of my head.  For those participating in full, I have no problem with your efforts.  All of those monster questions just were not for me - nothing more, nothing less.  I will participate again on day 21.   


Saturday, September 14, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 11 to Day 14

OK.  I got a little behind on this thing and I need to catch up so I will do so in this post.  Besides, some of these questions are best suited for quick answers anyway. 
Day 11 - Favorite Adventure You Have Ran
My favorite module ever is probably B2 The Keep on the Borderlands.  It was included with the Basic rules and I used it several times to introduce people to the game so I have ran it more than any other adventure.
Day 12 - Favorite Dungeon Type/Location
Give me the sprawling megadungeon any day.
Day 13 - Favorite Trap/Puzzle
I am just not a trap guy.  I have used and will continue to use traps that are detailed in products such as the Grimtooth's line of products but I do not try to devise my own traps.  It is just not my thing.
Day 14 - Favorite NPC
I assume this means a recurring NPC from my campaigns and I do not have one.  I prefer to not have recurring NPCs showing up time and time again.  Maybe a few show up until they are eventually vanquished but there is no villain that escapes time and time again attempt to defeat the group yet again.
I am caught up on the 30 Days of D&D Challenge now.  I probably will not be very productive on the next run of questions just because I do not think the favorite monster needed to be split up into a weeks worth of posts.  That is just me, though.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 10

The craziest thing I every saw happen during a D&D session was also the funniest in play action to take place in my old gaming group.  We were on one of our marathon gaming sessions on a Friday or Saturday night.  I do not remember exactly how many of us were playing but it was 3 or 4 players in addition to the DM.  I can not even recall if we were playing a published adventure or something the DM had put together. 
What I do remember is that we had been playing most of the night and had fought our way through hordes of enemies and the hit points were getting low.  At this point, we were being a bit more cautious in our actions.  We arrived at a place with a close door and decided not to just rush in but to listen at the door to see if we could tell if anything was in there.
The first character stepped up to the door and placed the side of his face against the door and heard nothing.  We were sure that there was someone or something behind the door so the next player stepped up and heard nothing also.  If my memory serves correctly, I believe the DM kept saying, "You failed to hear anything" if one of us failed so we kept trying.  All of the players attempted to listen at the door and heard nothing. 
Eventually, the turn cycle back around to the first player to attempt the listen at door action.  He thought for a moment and said, "My horse is going to listen at the door!".  Some light giggles were heard as the DM rolled the dice behind his screen and said, "The horse succeeds!".  As luck would have it, we knew something was going on behind the door but none of our characters spoke "horse" or whatever you want to call it.  At this point, the session was pretty much over for the night.  Everybody seemed to get a case of the late night laughs brought on by being up way after bedtime and drinking a ton of pop.  I do not even remember if we went into the room then or later but I will always remember that one guys horse listening at the door. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 9

I really do not have any D&D characters that I have not played.  When it asks for a character that I "have not played" I am taking that as "rolled up but never played" for one reason or another.  As far as I can recall, I have played every D&D character that I ever generated.  If I take other games into consideration then I have several characters that I have not played:
A Paladin type character for Fantasy Hero.  My gaming group just was not interested in what they perceived as a very high learning curve for the Hero System games.  I sure would have like to play one of these games.
An autoduellist from the original GURPS Autoduel.  I could never get my friends interested in devoting any time to the GURPS line.  We played plenty of Car Wars so I do not know why this one had no appeal to them.  Sigh...
A Cymrilian Warrior Mage and a Gnomekin Warrior for Talislanta.  My old group actually played this several times but some of the other players just were not into Talislanta at all.
Several characters for Villains & Vigilantes.  I used to make up characters for this game just because it was fun.  Somewhere in storage is an old folder of mine with a ton of V&V characters inside; illustrations for all are included.  One of these days I should dig that out and do some old school V&V posts about the characters and campaign world we created in our youth. 
There you have it - not one favorite character that I have never gotten to play but a list of characters that may or may not have been a lot of fun to play.  Maybe one of these days...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 8

My favorite character I have ever played in D&D is a Human Paladin named Thomas Solinus.  Most people would probably pick a character that they played throughout several campaigns that had gained enough experience points to be knocking on 20th level or somewhere close.  Many of these characters would have travelled to other planes and would have faced powerful challenges to make it back home.  Of course, that would make sense but I am going against the grain on this post.
Thomas Solinus is a Human Paladin that never made it past 1st level; he is just on hold.  I still have his character sheet and I am just waiting to use him again.  Thomas is the first human paladin -my favorite race and class - character I played since coming back to the hobby after an almost 6 year absence.  I was in the Army from 1992 to 2000. I only gamed twice in the military - both times were with forgettable groups - and had my last real game sometime in about 1990 or so.  For the sake of discussion, it was a 10 year absence.
I was back home in Oklahoma when D&D 3E was released.  For the introductory price of $20 I was quick to snag up the new books.  I read them with great interest and made a few characters, introduced cousin Alex to the game, and we started working on the world of Toldara.  I started getting the idea for Thomas around this time.  I rolled him up and played him in a game.  I played with some old school tendencies and the other players - all newbies - really dug it so it was a fun time. 
Unfortunately, I have not been able to game much since 2000; a little here and a little there.  I really need to get a group going or do some online stuff or something but I just have not done it.  The good news is that I still have Thomas in a folder just waiting to go.  Maybe I will get to break him out sometime... 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 7

I may have started with and speak very fondly of the Moldvay Basic set of the D&D rules but my absolute favorite edition is Advanced Dungeons & Dragons - mainly for the difficulty that our group of 8 and 9 years olds had understanding sections of the rules or putting it all together.  Dungeons & Dragons was pretty straightforward in the B/X incarnation of the rules.  If you lost your way on something, a little bit of page flipping or consulting the index would usually put you on the right track.  When you picked up an original cover AD&D tome at 8 years of age, you knew it was serious business.

The AD&D hardbacks provided many more options and rules than the D&D boxed sets. While D&D offered a short list of classes available for players to choose from, AD&D greatly expanded the list with Paladin, Illusionist, Monk, Assassin, the crazy Bard class, and others.  AD&D also split race from class and offered even more variety in character creation.  The Monster Manual offered up a nice variety of monsters from classic monsters of myth or brand new specimens.  The illustrations accompanying many of the monster descriptions were very successful in establishing a serious feel for our games.  It was great fun flipping through the Monster Manual trying to decide which monsters to use in our next adventure.  Finally, can enough good things be said about the Dungeon Masters Guide?  From the cover to the entries inside this massive tome it felt like a holding place of insider information for the DM straight from the creators of the game.  There was so much information crammed in there - use of the word level, alternate ability generation, magic circles, the prostitute table, etc. - that it felt like we were looking at something we might not be ready to understand.  Similar to an apprentice wizard trying his hand at the master's spell book.  It was intimidating but that was part of the draw.


Friday, September 6, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 6

My favorite deity in Dungeons & Dragons, Cthulhu, is found in the first edition Deities & Demigods.  I received as a hand me down gift - along with the PHB, DMG, & MM - from my Uncle David when he got out of the hobby.  I fondly recall flipping through the pages of D&DG and stopping to read further information every time something caught my eye.  The entire Cthulhu Mythos was definitely eye-catching!  Many of the names were nearly incomprehensible for an 8 year old child to pronounce and the illustrations were very appropriate for the listings.  Even though the products of today may look more polished or professional, nothing can beat the old dusty tome feeling of cracking open a first edition AD&D hardback. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 5

I am going to break out of the "strictly D&D" mode to explain what set of dice or individual dice are my favorite.  The funky dice - d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, and d30 - used in the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG are my favorite set of dice just for the nostalgic feeling they bring.  When I use them it makes me remember how excited all of us were about the new kinds of dice that D&D introduced to us.  We had never seen them before and we were in awe of all the dice in my Uncle David's collection. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 4

I have played in several published A/D&D game worlds from the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Krynn, and Mystara.  The list would be much longer if I included the many homebrew worlds but I am not considering those for this post.  I would say that my favorite D&D game world is Mystara because of all the time my buddies and I spent playing in that world when we were young and would often sneak in all night gaming episodes while our parents were sleeping.  I would like to see Mystara used in some official update by Wizards of the Coast.  I have not kept up with D&D Next as well as I could have but I think Mystara would be a great fit for the Basic Rules module or whatever they are calling it in the end. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 3

My favorite playable class while playing D&D is the Paladin because I like the champion aspect of the character - a lone figure making a stand against the evil in the world while adhering to a strict code of religious obedience - and see it in some of my favorite fantasy characters.  The Paladin is the guy that will take the fight to evil ones, draw a line in their path and proclaim, "Your evil ways stop here!".  Some say that the Cleric fills a similar role but I do not get that feeling from playing one.  The Cleric tends to feel like a religious healer instead of a religious champion.  I was a fan of the Paladin since AD&D - I do not claim to have always played them correctly - and I play them more than other classes in games such as Diablo also. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 2

Over the years I have used characters of most of the playable character races.  I have enjoyed playing these various characters but I have realized that my favorite playable character race is Human.  I am sure that a human character is not a "good" pick by some and they will point out some sort of advantage or bonus that is available for the demi-humans. In all honesty, none of the bonuses or advantages available to the demi-human races is enough to make me want to stop playing primarily human characters in a game of D&D.  Humans are instantly relatable because I happen to be one.  There is no need to learn about some weird society, culture, customs, etc. to get in to character.  Humans are also the heroes of most of the fantasy novels I have read.  Now, if we were playing Talislanta I would most likely play a Gnomekin, but that is just me.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge - Day 1

How did I get started with Dungeons & Dragons?  I answered that question on the About Me page of my blog.  Instead of relying on the link I will just reproduce the relevant portions of that information below.

It all started in the early part of 1980.  I was almost 8 years old and had just discovered fantasy books like The Hobbit, the Chronicles of Narnia, and The Prydain Chronicles.  My uncle had a ton of sci-fi and fantasy books so I was always bugging him to borrow more books or watch something else from his movie collection.  I still fondly remember watching Excalibur, Dune, and other similar movies with him growing up.  Simply put, Uncle David was the cool uncle that every boy should have when they are growing up.
I had some friends at school - Jamie and Dan - that were interested in the same type of stuff.  Dan told s about a game called Dungeons & Dragons that his older brothers introduced to him. This game sounded like something that would be perfect to satisfy our quest for more fantasy - better yet, we could make up our own stories about our own heroes.  After I went over and played a session of D&D I immediately had to get my own set of the rules and tell my Uncle David about this game.

I happened to be selling GRIT newspaper subscriptions at the time and had enough reward points to redeem for a basic set; I did so and received the Moldvay Basic set a short time later.  I also "informed" my Uncle David about this game only to find out that he had been playing for years already.  In fact, he gave his Holmes Basic set to me at this time and would eventually give me all of his AD&D hardbacks a short time later.  I *believe* that I started with the Holmes set first but it might have been the Moldvay set; either way, both are great introductions to D&DI am still not sure if it was Holmes or Moldvay that I started playing with but it was definitely one of those two!

Once Jamie and I started playing D&D we found ourselves playing all of the time.  I would spend the night at his house some weekends and then he would spend the night at mine on others.  It did not take long for us to look for more options and crack open the AD&D hardbacks.  At our young naive ages we assumed that more rules must mean more fun and more game so we "upgraded" to AD&D and stayed for years. (note: yes, I know that both games are great in their own right and no one needs MORE rules to have MORE fun - we were not yet 10 years old at the time.) It seemed like we were always coming up with house rules and new adventures to go on. AD&D would be our main game for quite some time.  Of course, when the Mentzer version came out and then expanded the Basic rules up even higher we also started playing D&D again.