Category Archives: D&D 4e
Started the day with a shiny new Costco membership and some shopping. Got a thing that won’t do what I thought it would. Hmm…
Played D&D tonight. Became completely frustrated with my character’s blasts that seem somewhat useless, as they’d either fry my party or only hit one creature, and that only after a lot of maneuvering. Screw it, this is a short term aside (we’re not playing our regular characters, but characters in another part of the world), the character is essentially a warlock-priest committed to ancient evils, it’ll be time to betray the party soon.
Day’s over. Need to go home for the night. Just keeping up with the daily posts.
Drove a lot today.
Played D&D4 tonight. Hanging on my a thread.
Signed up for a Twitter account so I can claim a Kickstarter reward tomorrow evening. Find me here.
Got eBay purchases and skimmed them (for Age of Sigmar).
Decided that the aggressive race in StarSea will be Trolls, who become Ogres when Corrupted (unless they are part of a Order, in which case they follow the usual Corruption path of the Order).
Need to go so I can go to work in the morning.
Kinda sucks using the iPad app to post, as you actually have to change your settings to make the app actually post an app when you’ve finished. So, yesterday’s post was completed, but not published. Blech.
Today was Kids D&D, which I know I’ve mentioned is run with 4e. A big complaint of 4e is the lack of lethality. I refute that with today’s game. Bad rolls on the parts of the player’s with even mediocre rolls on the part of the DM can result in the party getting their collective ass handed to them. I had two of the players down for the last half of the battle and the archer had to pretty much end the rest of the enemies. That included TWO NPCs, who were both pretty tough. Our group Thursday also almost got TPK’ed, and we’re newly epic. Yeah, you can kill parties in 4e.
One of the other things I want to comment on is the morality of the setting. It’s one of the thematic elements that I’m focused on. One of the influences on the morality of the setting is the Ophidian Virtues from Ultima VII: Serpent Isle. I really don’t have time for it tonight, so I’ll just leave you all that link and discuss them…
Worked late in the day, which is kind of annoying, but I always could have said no. I just wanted a few more hours on my time card, and that’s what I got. A relatively casual day in an office, but not one in which I sat around bored. Stomach continued to be grumbly, but not as bad as Wednesday.
Played our newly Epic Level D&D Living Forgotten Realms game tonight, but as one of our players couldn’t attend, one quit her job, and one just has money management issues, we didn’t go for Afters, which left me a bit down. It doesn’t help that the writers of the LFR adventures are so lame as to not have any idea how to write an adventure that threatens players without cheating. We faced minions in one encounter that had a special defense that allowed them to basically “save versus death” when struck. Lots of cheesy crap in these adventures.
That’s pretty much all I have for today. Not much done today. Working tomorrow, and the Kids D&D I run Saturday. Maybe something will come up that will be worth discussing. Later.
As this week has progressed, I’ve come to realize I really want to GM again. I’ve been listening to The Tome Show a lot, especially the Behind the DMs’ Screen episodes, which is three DMs discussing their games and giving each other advice and ideas. They’re the ones that have inspired me to try to run Madness at Gardmore Abbey, which if the kids don’t want to run it, I might do it with my Thursday night group as a short term game after our current campaign ends.
This has dovetailed with stuff going on in our home game. Therein, our DM has decided to use a storytelling technique I’ve found and used from the Critical Hit podcast. In this technique, part of the story is being told with alternate characters in the past or some other part of the setting. In our home game, I’m playing a dragonborn sorcerer from Abeir, the parallel world to the Forgotten Realms‘ Toril. I’ve been doing some research into dragonborn (as there are a few light texts on them, and I stumbled across the stuff on Returned Abeir, a chunk of the world of Abeir now part of the Realms (or at least in 4e; I have no idea if this has been erased by the Sundering event that transitioned the Realms to 5e). Just looking at it inspired me to run a game there, as I tend to dislike the Realms.
On the other hand, I’ve also been thinking of running the Neverwinter season of Encounters for my home game, as I ran it before at CSGS for Encounters. As well, I’d want to continue using the Neverwinter book to run longer. I was impressed with the book and how it detailed enough material to go beyond just 10th level, as the book itself states.
This morning, in the shower, I was inspired again, but this one I put out to all of you who might read this blog and GM. I ran into someone at one of the hobby shops in town that sells gaming stuff. This particular player had fielded his Warhammer 40K Tyranid army during a D&D for Kids game a few months ago. The Tyranid are a biotech “species” who move from world to world, ingesting all life, adapting whatever genetics improve them, and moving on. My mind moved on into how this faction of beings could be incorporated into an RPG. In the games that include such creatures (the Zerg of Blizzard’s StarCraft and WH40K), they are pretty much nothing that can be negotiated with. The Bugs of Starship Troopers are similar creatures.
My idea was to incorporate similar ideas into a fantasy RPG. This could give a more unifying framework to the aberrant creatures of D&D as currently, through 4e, the only unifying element of the aberrants is that they are from the Far Realms. Something like this gives them a more coherent set of goals. The idea could also be the machinations of some creature like Kyuss or Lolth, if she decides to forego the drow and instead rely on insects. Either way, the invaders are rapacious, destroying everything in their path. Beyond that, the idea is very sketchy. I didn’t really get time to think it through beyond that. Just a unifying theme for a campaign.
Even though I haven’t mentioned the StarSea, it’s not far from my mind in all of this. I’ve been thinking about the place of the Orders in the setting (Are they rulers? Are they law enforcement? Are they something else?), as well as other things, like technology and economics. I sometimes wonder if I’m thinking too much about all of this, but I want a solid setting with a lot of verisimilitude.
Well, that’s pretty much all I’ve got for this week. I’m out for this week. Later.
Monday, I didn’t work driving, so I worked on mechanics for the StarSea Fate rules. I started by looking at the one game I have available to me that uses Skill Modes, the Atomic Robo Role Playing Game. It made me realize I may have to do some research if I want races to act as modes, or more accurately mad me realize I need to simply reconsider the entire idea of races as modes.
But 4e Roles as Skill Modes is workable, once you examine Roles the right way. What I discovered is that since combat is detached from skills, you have to look at Roles a little differently. 4e’s roles are almost purely combat oriented, but there are certain skills you can expect with each role. As well, there are a couple of roles whose names have little to do with their skill bases, Controllers and Leaders being the primary sinners. The reality is, Controllers are the learned folk, most of them having a lot of Lore-oriented skills, while Leaders are typically social characters. To round things out, Defenders are strong, tough types, and Strikers are agile, generally sneaky types (although they also include some blitzers, who act more like Defenders). Once I did this analysis, I was more easily able to see how I’ll be dividing up the skills.
For reasons similar to race, I won’t be making Power Sources modes, either. While I haven’t re-read the Toolkit on Modes, the way they are handled in ARRPG, each character can have most of the modes. Your character rates each mode, which gives him a cluster of skills all at the same rating. Skills in multiple modes become reinforced, and gain a level edge. As characters should not be of mixed power sources or races (there are no half-species in the StarSea), then those things cannot be modes.
Doing all this also started me on setting up a skill list, and comparing it to the Camelot Trigger setting (King Arthur’s Court in a future in which all of them ride Mecha) provided on the Worlds on Fire book. It has some similar concepts to the StarSea, so I decided I wanted to look at the names of skills, as they do a fair job evoking the chivalric ideal. I want to make some changes (for example, I’m pretty certain I don’t want a Resources skill, and I’m not real sure about contacts, but a Rank skill or some such to represent a character’s ability to requisition equipment might be more appropriate, as might something to represent knowing other knights.
I also started getting the mechanics of magic going, based on some of the ideas presented in the Fate Freeport Companion. Therein, magic is basically an extra that gives characters access to different spells based on which extra he chose (evoker versus necromancer versus “cleric,” etc.). While I originally didn’t care for the idea, as I looked at it again this week, I realized that I had bounced around the idea with myself of having different specialties for each order (such as telekinesis and telepathy for the Psionics, etc.) that I could use to create similar sets of extras for the StarSea.
I need to do a little research on the Modes issues, make some decisions about which skills exist and what modes they are in, and detail out my extras system, smooth things out into an integrated system, and I should soon after begin playing around with creating characters. I also need to work out a plot for the con game by the end of the week.