Monday, March 19, 2018

More recent acquisitions

I got my hands on some more gaming stuff recently.

I received the PDFs of the new versions of the Monster Alphabet and Dungeon Alphabet (I reviewed the original here.) I'm waiting on the physical

I mentioned Volo's Guide a few times already.

A generous reader gave me a gift card to Warehouse23 so I could buy GURPS Social Engineering: Pulling Rank.

And I'm still reading through Operation Unfathomable.

I actually intended to pick up the PDF of Tunnels & Trolls 5th edition on the DM's Day week say, but I forgot to pull the trigger before the sale ended. Oh well, next time.

I do need to get a review up for most of these, but only after I finally have the time to finish my review of D3 Vault of the Drow.

Lots of gaming reading, here, and not a lot of gaming reading time. But I'll get through these and pull out useful gems for my own games.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Volos Guide & Felltower

I've been really enjoying Volo's Guide.

Some of what I've read will certainly influence Felltower.

For example:

- I really like what they did with Kenku. I may have to use them in some way. Not as a PC race, before A~ and G~ comment here and ask. But they'll fit pretty well in one of the gate locations.

- I also got a lot out of the writeups of hags. I've always liked hags, but rarely had them come up. I should have put one near the play location in the Cold Fens, like I did in the black swamps in my last campaign. If the players travel a bit further east, perhaps they'll be able to meet one. Like in my own previous games, they'll be potentially nasty foes or useful speaking encounters, depending on how you handle it.

- the writeup of Yuan-Ti was good. I'm not sure how much I'll use, but I'll use a bit to expand snakmen.

- one of the monsters matches some minis I have to a "T" - the shoosuva. Probably because it's a new version of something introduced in D&D or the Chainmail minis game, and the mini is from that line. It gave me some new ideas on how to use it.

Some probably won't, but I still like, such as the darklings - the updated dark creepers from the best monster book ever. Overall, it's going give me some positive, useful material to slot in ahead of the PCs in DF Felltower.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Casting Room Minis Sale

To More Minis, or to not More Minis, that is the question:

"We're having a 20% off sale on all the products listed on our Casting Room Miniatures site!

Only until the end of March 2018.

Enter the code "20%CRM" in the Discount code box when you check out.

Shipping will be charged as usual: Our postage rates (in GBP) are £4 to the UK and £6 to most of Europe, North America and Australasia, or free with orders over £80. A £10 flat rate charge applies to all other countries so that we can send your order by Royal Mail tracked.

Regrettably this cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts, except for free shipping on orders over £80.

It's really tempting.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Volo's Guide to Monsters - arrived

Some of the Christmas gift cards people gave me went to gaming materials. The last of them arrived today:

At a glance, it's interesting. It should be a fun read and give me ideas for my own games. I don't generally use much of the fluff from game books, and with a 5e D&D book I don't need the stats exactly. But a well-written combination of stats and fluff can inspire me quite well. Plus I do like to see classic AD&D monsters turned into modern rules stats so I can see how current designers view what those powers should do in the current system.

It will be a good bedside reader to slowly get through. Or quickly, if it's as good as I've heard.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hold your breath!

The Stench spell, as (very well) re-written in DFRPG Spells, is a pretty lethal spell.


It causes suffocation, and eventually flat-out damage. However, you can hold your breath for up to HT seconds.

Naturally this has caused a need for some rulings:

- when can you choose to hold your breath? Is it a free action on your turn? Is it a defensive small-m maneuver like an Active Defense?

- Is it realistic that you can continue to fight without penalty while holding your breath? Maybe. I've held my breath 10+ seconds while doing deadlifts for higher reps (say, 10-12). But it's not optimal. GURPS doesn't penalize it, either way.

- how long does it take to form the cloud?

Generally what I've ruled is:

- you can choose on your turn. Before then, you're breathing.

- I don't penalize holding your breath when you fight, but I do limit actions. How are you doing Intimidation with a closed mouth? Don't use Tactics to help your buddy. You can't yell out about the flank attack.

- Spells doesn't seem to mention an onset time, but one solution to "Can I hold my breath as a Defense?" or "Am I holding my breath?" is to give it one. Make it take one full second to form up. The caster's next turn determines when it starts, giving everyone a chance to close their mouth and hold on. I actually don't use this, I ruled it forms instantly, but you can decide on the start of your turn if you reacted by holding your breath or not. Everyone says they did. Because of that, I've ruled:

- no in-game discussion and I frown on out-of-game tactical discussion. If you're all in a Stench spell area effect and holding your breath, then how are you getting to, "Are we holding this position or should we back off towards the other room?" Inevitably someone busts out "Oh, uh, I roll Gesture to communicate that." Gesture is helmet taps, holding up a hand for stop, and how I communicate with my fellow drivers in NJ.

That's pretty much how I've handled Stench in play.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

An addendum to yesterday's dungeon post

Rob Conley put up a good post about the value of terse dungeon descriptions, referencing my own post from yesterday.

My comments yesterday about the non-publishable nature of Felltower as written might be easy to interpret, though. Here is what I commented on Rob's post:

"To be clear, I'm not saying you can't write a terse but effective and publishable dungeon. I'm saying you can't just grab up notes meant for a GM who is making stuff up on the fly and noting down only what he doesn't want to forget and publish that. Like Castle Greyhawk, if I handed someone else Felltower it would be a mess to try to run. I could publish a terse version, but it would need to be re-written since it's not in any kind of state conducive to other people running it."

Basically, I was talking about my dungeon. Also, I'd note that if I did make Felltower into a publishable dungeon, it would either be a) verbose, or b) run very differently in the hands of someone else. Not that b) is a bad thing, just that it's not the same thing as "really running Felltower" would be.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gary Gygax on dungeons

Delta's D&D Hotspot posted about Gary Gygax and dungeon design.

Gygax on Dungeon Design

That kind of thing is why I've talked about the differences between writing for yourself vs. other people and the problems of other people's megagundeons.

I do much of the same - map it, put down a minimal bit of information that tells me the important stuff, make up a lot as I go (and note it down, so it stays in the dungeon), and just cross out the stuff that players have changed through their actions.

It's a really good way to go . . . but no way to write an adventure for someone else to run.
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