Wednesday, 23 July 2014

D&D's Theatre of the Mind (Part 1)

With its release in 2000, 3E rejuvenated a depressed D&D scene with a spectacular and modern set of rules that brought table-top roleplaying into a new golden age.

One of the many ways that 3E differentiated itself from its predecessors was the inclusion of a satisfying tactical combat mini-game which brought war-gaming sensibilities to a past-time which hadn't seen the like in twenty-five years. These new rules eased D&D away from the abstract combats of AD&D and towards more battle-mat-focused miniatures play.

You could certainly play the new edition without miniatures, but you only had to look as far as the illustrations in the Combat chapter to see that Wizards of the Coast would much rather you bought-in to their imminent -- and frankly rather good -- D&D miniatures line.

Heroes vs. the undead in my 4E campaign


I had not problem with that, and to be fair, it's not like we hadn't used the occasional metal miniature, token, or scrawled tactical map for AD&D. It certainly wasn't the norm though (ironic given D&D's origins), and most combats took place in a shared imagination constructed on the  DM's narration and the inevitable, subsequent interrogation of him by the players ("Can I..?" and "How far..?" being the queries most-often heard.). We now call this style of play "Theatre of the Mind" (TotM).

Monday, 14 July 2014

New year. New Game. New Look.

We're busy over at "Chasing the DM" Towers, and it's time the old place got a spring clean!

Cradle Plain - This campaign has now sadly folded after something like 85 runs (only a few more than are documented in the campaign journal). This was entirely my fault as we decided to leave the area and then, due to the vagaries of the housing market, didn't. In the meantime, other interests have kept the group from re-forming and with the imminent release of the new edition, I've decided to let it rest in peace.

The campaign was a unique experience for me in so many ways and I might do a proper post-mortem one day. Suffice to say, it had some of the great moments of my DM'ing career, as well as some of the most embarrassing, and was brilliant, beautiful, stressful, nerve-bending, and rewarding in about equal measure. It's a shame the mystery of Necrotech never got solved, but then, that's often the nature of things, in the dungeon.

I'll take this one last chance to thank my players who never failed to bring their best game to the table every Sunday afternoon. Mrs. Chasing the DM and I made some amazing friends and shared some incredible laughs. Ben, Phil, Jase, Nick, Lily, Neil, Amy, Alec...you guys know who you are!