Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Heading back to Krynn, part 2: DL13 Session 1

Lorendle - Wild Elf Fighter 7/Cleric9 
Ringmar - Kender Thief 11
Crystal - Human Mage9
Tyranus - Minotaur Fighter 11
NPCs - Berem (Human)

Note: session notes can be found in the comments, so as to keep them away from anyone who doesn't want to peek behind the curtain.

I won't lie to you, it was pretty exciting to stoke the fire under this campaign.

The game starts in the ruins of Karthay, just after the party had prevailed against none other than Kitiara the Blue Highlord, whose last ditch leap from the cliff edge onto her dragon hadn't ended so well. Skie, however, had escaped. Healing the bronze dragon Clarion, insane and poisoned due to Kitiara's actions, was the first order of business, as well as the introduction of a new minotaur PC.

Once healed, Clarion informs the PC's that he had been compelled to help Berem via dreams of his king, Paladine the lord of all dragons, and that the party should in turn seek out the Glitterpalace, there to prove themselves worthy of Paladine's greatest gifts. The dragon is also able to transport them directly to Port Kalaman, center of the Whitestone forces in Ansalon, by expending the latent magic of his lair. "I go to join the war, and don't expect to return," he says.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Heading back to Krynn, part 1: DL13, prep

I had an interesting experience this weekend, running an AD&D Dragonlance session for the first time in over a decade.

Years ago, when 3rd Edition smashed into the the D&D landscape like the proverbial mountain on Istar, we left an instance of the Dragonlance DL-series unfinished following a short-lived attempt to convert it to the new rules which ended in under-powered characters and an exponential increase in work for the campaign's already-stressed DM.

Hard work though that campaign was, we've since always had a fondness for it. It was an incredibly long-running enterprise and featured several memorable PC's getting themselves into a lot of ridiculous situations, all against the backdrop of one of the most epic D&D adventure series ever committed to paper.

So, a couple of months back, we decided to resurrect the campaign using the original PC's and a by-the-book version of the AD&D rules.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

D&D Next: The 4E Connection

After almost three-hundred sessions both DM'ing and playing as a PC, I can confidently pick out what I like and dislike about the 4E system.

The Good - Overall I think the designers did a brave, incredible job creating an innovative rules set that reflected almost exactly how my D&D actually played at the table. Yes, the Fighter did get bored being a collection of feats with legs. Yes, the Wizard did get pissed off when she ran out of spells. And yes, my Cleric was frustrated being nothing but a heal-bot at high levels. Those things were all true and they were all fixed in 4E.

On top of that, with a selection of by-level difficulty guidelines which made improvisation an absolute breeze, and a framework for encounter building that left all the previous editions looking neanderthal in comparison, the game was a huge breath of fresh air in a 3E world with which I'd become increasingly disenchanted.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

D&D Next: The 3E Connection

You really can’t get away from it: DDN reads like an iteration of 3rd Edition. So for DDN to really work, it needs to keep everything that I liked about 3E, of which there’s a lot, and trash the stuff that put me off the game and eventually made me such a willing supplicant at the altar of 4E, of which there’s also a lot.

The Good - There's a lot of stuff I loved about 3E. It's difficult to separate the actual qualities of the game from the surge of excitement and relief that came from knowing D&D was finally in experienced, enthusiastic hands and that the product they were turning out was of such high quality, but after playing it for so many years I think I can scratch up some objectivity.

Unified rules - I vividly remember sitting on the sofa reading the 3E PHB and wondering where all the stuff I knew from AD&D2e had gone. It took a tangible mental shift for me to grok what the designers of 3E had actually done and how it all fit together into more than just a jumble of systems that, in previous versions, had happened to work well as a game (or didn't, as the case may have been). If I ever have to reference a table to resolve a die roll, the game has failed in this respect. For a good, free-flowing session where the DM can adjudicate fairly and improvise smart rulings on the fly, the mechanics need to be intuitive and broadly applicable to a wide range of play.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

To Wedgeski, Hugs and kisses, Love, Wizards of the Coast

We have a new version of D&D coming, and unlike previous versions, this one is being created in the open. I'm amazed that the designers -- and for that matter Wizards of the Coast themselves -- had the cajones to push for a new edition so soon after investing in the current one, and not only that but to do it in the wild, opinionated, contradictory wilderness of the roleplaying community, where every good idea is nuked from orbit by weaponised geeks and rational discussion is a rare treat.

It's especially brave given the prevailing critical wind amongst the forum-posting contingent, which could most generously be described as savagely anti-WotC.

You can go and download the latest playtest packet from the Wizards web site right now. The process has been going on for almost a year and what's emerging is an interesting cross-section of D&D history with mechanics firmly rooted in 3E, satisfying nods to what 4E did best, and an evident strategy of taking the game back to the kind of fast, loose, frontier-rule of law that drove AD&D to such great heights back in its hey-day. It's all quite interesting, actually, more so than I expected as a fan and long-time DM of 4E who felt that the latest version of the game was being handed its hat even before the main course was being cleaned away, let alone after dessert had been served.

Hmm. Anyone else hungry?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dungeon Index Up To Date!

The Dungeon Index page is now up-to-date up to and including Dungeon #211, and #212 will be completed as soon as the Wizards web site provides a download link!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Dungeon Index Updates

I've started trickling the outstanding Dungeon magazine adventure content into the Dungeon Index. I expect to be completely up-to-date within a few days.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Top of the Round

Hey. Whaddap? It's been a long time.

Coming back to the blog after quite some time off, I'm really happy to see that the Dungeon Index is ticking over with a couple-hundred hits a month, and that people seem to be getting some real utility from that page. Brilliant! I'll carve out the time to bring that thing up to date as soon as I can.

Due to some geographical and lifestyle changes that looked imminent at the time, the campaign itself has been on hold since the back half of last year, but those changes are taking quite some time to come to fruition and while we're still local to the players I'm hoping to warm things up again. After we move, the plan is to change the campaign structure into something that can continue in longer, irregular sessions which will take place whenever we can travel and get everyone together.

In the meantime, there are tons of sessions recorded but not yet written up and that's something I need to get done. The problem, as always, is finding the multiple hours per session it takes to do that. As always you can subscribe to the blog if you want to know exactly when those updates happen. Your Inbox will suffer no ill effects, I promise.