Archive for October 2013

Wandering Monsters: Trite Trickery

Wandering Monsters takes a break from monsters this week to talk about what exploration means and various dungeon "tricks".

Starting things on a positive note, I actually agree with the definition of what exploration is, as well as the bullet list of activities (which could be broken up into travel, problem-solving, and investigation). The only thing I would add is that more than just a category of things that can occur in the game, I think it is also important for adventure pacing.

>In other words it is not only the glue that holds your encounters together, but it is also the padding that keeps the game session from being an endless
sequence of fights and dialogue.

October 31, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

Wandering Monsters: Demonic Doldrums


You know I cannot think of a single column of Wanderings Monsters that I have liked, or at least not one that I have regarded in a mostly favorable light. I read them, wonder why they would try pitching something so bland, confusing, uninspired, and/or that panders to previous editions for no discernible reason, and just hope that the final draft is much, much better.

Frankly I think that the flavor I cook up as a reaction to these articles is better, and I am not a professional in this industry by any stretch. Not only have these guys been in the business for years, but they have a whole team working on it, so why are the results almost always so...bleh?

Legends & Lore: Medusa? More Like Medon'tsa

One thing that I have been critical of with Next, aside from virtually everything involving mechanics, is the flavor, which I guess means pretty much everything. Normally it is the Wandering Monsters column that tries to pitch confusing, contradictory, and/or boring backstories, but today Legends & Lore takes over with the medusa.

The Greek Medusa was a beautiful woman who was cursed by Athena for the "crime" of being raped in one of her temples by another god. Her hair was transformed into snakes, her gaze turned anyone that saw it to stone (no save), and in at least one version of the story she is eventually beheaded by Perseus.

October 21, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

If These Stones Could Scream: Region Map

Victor is normally tasked with taking my crude line drawing and making them into something that you can understand without patience and a magnifying glass, but since he has been busy I thought I would take a stab at it and see what I could do.

This is the region map for If These Stones Could Scream another Dungeon World adventure I am working on:



Not quite satisfied with how the mountains blend, and I'll need to texture the grassy areas some more, but otherwise it is almost done. Then I will try my hand at polishing up Khajra (city map), and then the Serpent Ziggurat (dungeon map).

Numenera: First Impressions

So I finally got a chance to actually play a game for once, and Numenera at that. We spent a good chunk of the night building characters for about half the table (there are seven of us), establishing who knew who, getting fed setting information (since we are not using the "official" Ninth World), and joking around (did I mention there are seven of us?).

Since we did not get a chance to actually play much, this is more of a first impressions from the player's side of things. Once the game got rolling we were in a mostly underground facility owned by Beth's character, a wealthy nano that specialized in dimensional science (and the cause of the incident that pulled my character mostly into the Ninth World).
October 19, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

Wandering Monsers: The Little Guys

When and how do you use kobolds and goblins?

For the most part I agree with the article when it comes to the bulleted basic elements, though I would expand the list to include a draconic heritage and sorcerer elements for kobolds, and goblins lairing in the wilderness (not necessarily just in caves or ruins). If a setting associates goblins with fey (or just makes them fey), then I would also make them adept at illusion or "shadow" magic to further differentiate them from kobolds.

October 17, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

D&D Next: Wild Shape & Oaths

This for realsies last last playtest packet updates the druid's Wild Shape and adds a new paladin oath, the Oath of Vengeance.

Wild Shape
You cannot do this at all until 2nd-level, but you can now do it once between short and long rests. At 8th-level you can use it twice between rests. There are many forms available at the start, including flying critters and a horse. The time limit is one-half your level in hours. Finally, Circle of the Moon grants access to more dangerous animals like dire wolves, tigers, and cave bears (oh my).

I still do not like it.
October 15, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

Legends & Lore: Mildshape

One of the druid's most iconic features is wildshape.

In 3rd Edition you had to wait until 5th-level before you could change your form into a Small or Medium animal just once per day. As you leveled up you could change more times in a daily period, and you gained access to more size categories and creature types. The only limitation was that the form's Hit Dice could not exceed the druid's level, which was not much of a limitation when you could still, say, change into a dinosaur capable of charging while still making multiple poisonous attacks.

A level before the fighter could make her second attack.

Assuming she does not take more than a 5-foot step.

October 14, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

If These Stones Could Scream: Khajra Map Take 2

My second stab at Khajra, the primary adventure site for our upcoming adventure If These Stones Could Scream. I made the area with the actual town a bit smaller and added an arena, while the snakeman pyramid is quite a bit larger and circular (at Josh's request). 

The town started out as a dig site for explorers investigating and/or looting the snakeman pyramid, but due to all the water after it was cleaned out it became a kind of resting stop for caravans crossing the desert. Eventually a would-be noble set up shop (and walls) and began charging people to stay and purchase water.


Wandering Monsters: Easy Answers

The focus of this week's Wandering Monsters is less monsters and more questions that can all be answered with the following statement: it depends entirely on the Dungeon Master and her setting.

Is it okay to kill orc babies? Do orcs even have babies? Both depend on the setting. In a lot of settings they seem to be used as a convenient monster that players can kill and rob without having to think about it too hard. Kind of like zombies, just stronger, faster, and technically smarter. Simple and straightforward, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that because...

...you do not have to explain what they are or where they come from.

October 09, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

D&D Next Podcast

From what I can tell instead of a Legends & Lore column, this week we are instead getting a podcast with Mike, Jeremy and Rodney talking about the latest packet and upcoming changes to a few classes.

I mentioned back when the packet was released that I feel like they are going out of their way to make sure that certain groups of people see that they are clearly marking races as unusual and "officially" cordoned off to a campaign setting. I guess to be fair gnomes and half-orcs are in the mix with warforged, though this should really be a campaign setting decision on the DM's part.

October 08, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

Epiro: Season Finale

Cast
  • Atticus (wood elf predator druid 6)
  • Iola (wood elf centered breath monk 6)
  • Perseus (demigod Chaladin 6)
  • Nero (critically cursed evoker 6)
Outmaneuvering the hydra's many jaws was easy enough, it was trying to punch through the stony plates that was giving Iola trouble. Still she at least proved to be a sufficient enough distraction that Atticus was able to drive a piece of ice into an opening.

October 05, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

If These Stones Could Scream: Khajra Map Draft

Now that I am done with the Dungeon World version of Something Stirs in the Blackscale Brakes (13th Age will be coming once there is a SRD that allows use of the default icons), I have started working on another adventure titled If These Stones Could Scream.

After finishing 20 pages I thought I would switch gears and work on one of three maps that will be included in the adventure, starting with Khajra:
Victor is gonna have a field day with this one.
Khajra is located in the middle of an expansive desert, serving as a key stopping point for caravans passing through. Well, it used to until its inhabitants stopped opening the gates or even responding at all.

Wandering Monsters: You Don't Know Drake

Felldrakes were originally featured in 3rd Edition's Monster Manual II, where they were created by Bahamut to protect some elves after they helped beat back a demonic invasion. Hey, some gods give you a pat on the head, a glowing commendation (maybe even literally), or a magic sword, while others create an entire species.

From what I could find in Monster Vault, 4th Edition did not associate them with any race or even Bahamut, depicting them as beasts that fulfilled similar roles as other animals like wolves and dogs. Just, you know, "dragon-y".

October 01, 2013
Posted by David Guyll

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