Sunday, 26 April 2009

A New Appreciation

Now its gone, but not forgotten by some Gamers - who tend to be like rabid dogs when it comes to letting something go - I have a new-found appreciation for DnD 3.5.

It was playable, and fun - albeit more of a Dice Rolling exercise - thats not a challenge towards Players and DM's of 3.5 - an RPG is as good as its Players make it, a really bad set of rules can be turned into an excellent Role-Playing experience given enough enthusiasm and tenacity.

HOWEVER - I still think that its very 'bitty' in its presentation, with a LOT more cross-referencing needed during play than is neccessary. Also, the Multi-Classing is way out of wack - its (sort of) a combination of the Multi and Dual Classing rules from 1st Ed ADnD - with all of the benefits and none of the pitfalls!

Still, upon saying that - its only two real gripes - and as Gygax said "Its your game now, if you don't like something - change it"!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

4th Ed DnD Rant (re-mix)

People really have some venom towards 4th Edition DnD - don't they!

Do they see it simply as change for changes sake, or maybe the WotC's attempt to wring more cash out of the DnD players/fan base?

TBH after reading through all the Introductions, Net-Information, Blogs, and watching the GenCon presentations on YouTube I can actually see why they would think badly of WotC - none of the information presented about the New Edition really tells the story CLEARLY and none of it is all in one place.

A lot of folks have issue with miniatures playing such a big part of the combat rules in the new Edition, I'm not sure why. RPG's are an evolution (remember that word) of Table Top Wargaming - and were INTENDED to be used with Miniatures.

If you remember my previous post -

4th Ed DnD Rant (again)

Some People are STILL ranting about using a Combat Grid an Miniatures, how its not like proper DnD and nothing like earlier editions - to them I say this -

Dungeons and Dragons: Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures.

Thats straight from the blurb on the cover of the 1974 boxed set. . . . . . . .
So the constant berating and moaning about 4th Ed being nothing like oDnD is nothing but moaning for moanings sake (a very common thing on the Internet, its easy for negative people to whine and hide behind their words).

If you don't like something about an RPG - you CHANGE it. I personally an not a fan of the Modern RPG concept of everybody being equal, the word 'broken' is used WAY too much if you ask me. Balance comes from the DM and the way he handles his Stories, Scenarios, and his players. But these days, with the vast majority of people either being unwilling or unable to put a great deal of effort in - its an attempt to make RPG's easier to manage.

To that I say SCREW it! Lets make everything fun again, and CHANGE things to suit YOU and your gaming group.

Back on point -
  • 4th Edition is an evolution of D&D, AD&D, then D&D 3rd (then 3.5) - I remember the hassle and stress amongst Players and DM's alike when 3rd first came out - Feats had a VERY negative response no one saw why they had been put in - now with 3.5 (and Pathfinder) they are part and parcel of DnD and people just accept they are there.
  • Folks complain about PC's being too 'Hard' at first level - but LOADS of people moaned about starting characters at first level. I myself have been badgered by Players wanting to start at 3rd level or higher. Now those same players are complaining about PC's being too good at First level - FFS Hypocrisy or what!
  • The constant moaning about all the Classes are the same, no one is any different, all the Powers feel the same - ARRANT NONSENSE! The Powers, Spells, Prayers, and Exploits all work in the same way - that is they have the same basic mechanic. But they are all different in appearance and feel. After many a long debate with Gamers about this, the ones who protest the most know the least about 4th Edition - so my advice is ignore them as they don't really know what they are talking about.
  • IF you don't like the Combat rules as they stand, change them. Squares become 'bands' of Range of 6 Feet. Its not exactly hard to work out. Its a good idea to do this anyway, as not all Combats will play out in the same way - some spring out of nowhere and you haven't always got the time (or the resources) to play them out on the Table. Using the squares to feet conversion will enable you to play them out WITHOUT using a Grid and Miniatures. Try it, it makes a change and works quite well.
  • I don't like the DnD Bits of Rubber - A lot of people don't. So don't use them, there are plenty of figure Manufacturers out there - Reaper do an AMAZING range of suitable miniatures. For the more exotic Models, I am SURE some company somewhere will be making something suitable at some point - if not, get converting!
As you might perceive, I am the sort who looks for solutions rather than whines and moans about problems.

IMHO more people should do the same, especially when it comes to gaming.

Its fun, try it . . . . . .

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Lack of Posts & Multi-Classing in 4e

I haven't 'blogged' since Friday, as I've not been well (again) - but on the plus side it meant I got some reading done of the new 4e Players Handbook 2.

Overall, I'm very impressed - BUT I still think Multi-Classing needs some attention, as at the moment its NOT Multi-Classing - its 'dabbling' in another Class.

I have some ideas, and will post them when I have them set in my mind.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Whats in a Name

How important are names to people, names for their characters I mean.

I AGONIZE over names for Characters and PC's. They have to be 'just right' for me.

Sometimes I go for 'dramatic' names - such as Ravenstar (a Mage I played in a 2e Dragonlance Campaign) or 'just' a name such as Marazan (my Warforged Wizard I have in an online Game at the moment).

I've seen random name generators and such and personally would NEVER touch such an infernal engine.

Names for me at least are important, and very personal.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

4th Ed DnD Rant (again)

Some People are STILL ranting about using a Combat Grid an Miniatures, how its not like proper DnD and nothing like earlier editions - to them I say this -

Dungeons and Dragons: Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures.

Thats straight from the blurb on the cover of the 1974 boxed set. . . . . . . .


Isn't it funny how people still perceive Role Playing as Nerdy or Geeky.

I was chatting to some folks I know about gaming, and Phil - a guy who has EVERY 40k Novel ever written and more Space Marine miniatures than is healthy.

AND YET - he called DnD players Geeks.

Hmmmmmm . . . . . . .

Monday, 6 April 2009

Toy Soldiers or not Toy Soldiers

Its a fact that not everyone likes using miniatures when they roleplay.

The 'elitist' Gamers who play "Storytelling" games (who naively think its a cool title, rather than a marketing device) more than often don't use them (I've bought no-end of Vampire and Werewolf Miniatures out of bargain bins in my time - GREAT for Shadowrun Lol); and even though DnD itself evolved from Chainmail (a wargame) a lot of DnD players don't use miniatures.

I'm not sure why, maybe the additional expense or the extra effort.

Now I prefer using miniatures, not because of the 'combat grid' or any such rubbish like that - but because its more evocative. You can describe your PC, or draw/paint a picture - but when you find (or convert) that perfect miniature to represent your Character (or in the case of a DM - a Major NPC) there is a great feeling of satisfaction.

Not only in the painting of your Model, but also when someone asks "What does your character look like" and you whip out your Figure and say "They look like that" . . . . . .

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Living in a Fantasy World

Around twelve years ago, I was visiting my Parents before traveling over to my friend Chris's House to DM a game.

My older Brother was there, and caught me mid-conversation with my Mother (Hazel) who always took an interest in my Hobby as she too had a very active imagination.

My Brother, in his usual arrogant and pushy way passed comment - "You want to stop living in a fantasy world mate"- rather than argue, I simply kissed my Mum goodbye and bid farewell to my Dad and left (slightly early) for the game.

Fortunately, Chris was already home when I got there and we had one of our long and interesting chats (which still go on regularly by Email even though we don't meet up really these days) - but I digress.

A while, I had an uncharacteristic (as in he rang me more than once that day) phone call from my Dad. He was obviously irked about something. When I asked what was wrong he responded "Its your Brother, he really does live in a fantasy world".

As you can imagine, I was a little taken aback by this - and asked what my Dad meant as my Brother had always been very rooted in the real world with little or no imagination.

Basically my Brother was ignoring problems hoping they go away. Using Bill money to pay credit cards, then using the credit card to pay the bill and another credit card - and so on and so forth.

Now I am no financial Wizard, but I am pretty sure (as is my Father) that you can't do that forever without things going amiss somewhere along the line.

I guess what I am really trying to get at is that a little constructive Fantasy and Imagination is a good and positive thing, whereas ignoring your real world responsibilities is not.

Looks like my Older Brother is the one living in a Fantasy world really . . . . .

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Random Musings

Its a funny old world really, and I must admit - I pretty much hate it. When you read or hear about the horrors people are capable of in the world, it makes one wonder . . . .

I've read a lot of blogs about DnD and RPG's in general. Peoples lives and histories, loves and losses, you know the sort of thing - pretty much an online diary.

One thing I've noticed, is that people who play RPG's are good people - seriously. I've had anger issues in the past, but never when I've been actively Role Playing (the same cannot be said about Miniature Wargaming, but thats another story).

Sure I've known Role Players who have fallen the wrong side of the law, but NEVER when they've been active in the Hobby.

Can the same be said for Console/Computer Game addicts - I have personally encountered all sorts of Horror-Stories. Shoplifting, stealing from family and friends - even worse (I won't go into that here as its a really upsetting story).

Its an odd thing, and I wonder how many people have encountered situations similar.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Books, Lemuria, and an Unmade Movie

Fantasy Literature - there can't be many who don't like it, can there? Apart from the few who either lack imagination or really REALLY don't like Fiction - like my Father, Harold - Upon saying that, he does like Rudyard Kipling. But thats about it.

I've been reading the Thongor series, there weren't many (unfortunately) as Carter got roped into writing some (IMHO) lackluster Conan Stories with De Camp; which, considering the writers SHOULD have been a lot better than they were (but they weren't).

  1. The Wizard of Lemuria (1965; expanded as Thongor and The Wizard of Lemuria (1969))
  2. Thongor of Lemuria (1966; expanded as Thongor and the Dragon City (1970))
  3. Thongor Against the Gods (1967)
  4. Thongor in the City of Magicians (1968)
  5. Thongor at the End of Time (1968)
  6. Thongor Fights the Pirates of Tarakus (1970)
If you like Sword and Sorcery, I heartily recommend you going out of your way and trying to get these - they aren't currently in print - but they are great fun and well worth the effort.

For those who don't know the Thongor series is Carter's premier creation in the Sword and Sorcery genre, representing a tribute to both the Conan series of Robert E. Howard and the Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He pictures the lost continent of Lemuria as a prehistoric land mass existing in the South Pacific Ocean during the ice age, on which Mesozoic lifeforms persisted after the catastrophe which wiped them out in the rest of the world. An intelligent reptilian humanoid race descended from "dinosaurian" forebears formerly reigned supreme as the dominant life form, but was partially supplanted as such by humanity as the continent was colonized by fauna from outside Lemuria. Humans have gradually thrown off the subjection in which they were initially held by the older civilization. Culturally, Lemuria is a mixture of civilization and barbarism, but overall is precociously advanced over the outside world, boasting a magic-based technology that even includes flying machines. The Thongor books relate the struggle of the titular hero to unite the humans of Lemuria into a single empire and complete the overthrow of the "dragon kings."

Oddly enough my own D&D World centered around Lemuria, and at that point when I first started running games there I hadn't read the Thongor Books. Even so there are similarities between the two worlds which just made the Books even more fun for me to read.

There was even a Thongor Movie planned - way back in the seventies there was a two page article about it in Starlog Magazine issue 15 (1978).

The Film was to be called Thongor in the Valley of the Demons and (From what I can gather) based mostly on the Wizard of Lemuria story.

The production company was the same one that did the Edgar Rice Burroughs films with Doug McClure (Amicus), though they had planned to use stop motion monsters for Thongor rather than puppets and men in monster-suits.

They had gotten as far as constructing a Lizard-Hawk model which is pictured in the magazine and to be frank it looked pretty darn cool.

The movie had a planned release date of July 1979 which was never met unfortunately.

If it had been made, it would have beaten Arnie's Conan Movie the big screen by 3 years!

I've just ordered the Dreaming Dark Trilogy, a series of Eberron Books so I can get more of a 'feel' for the World - I already have plenty of ideas, but I love to read so any excuse Lol.

I already have a few (fairly radical) ideas for Eberron, including merging some previous campaign ideas in with the World (as parts of the Xen'Drik Mythos fits quite well) I always think its nice when a DM personalizes things myself.

The best Greyhawk Campaign I ever played in, the DM (Garry his name was) had changed quite a few things around to suit his style of play - and it worked brilliantly.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

In the beginning . . . . .

When I first started it was in late 1977 - my Nan had returned from America with a Gift for me - a fairly plain brown with white labels boxed game called "Dungeons & Dragons" - I was just fifteen years old at the time. But my Nan (Maud, my Dads Mum) knew I was mad about such things - she actually thought it was some sort of board game. In actuality she hadn't picked it out, my Cousin in the US had.

I first games with a friend from School, Philip - I poured over that white box with its (lets face it) poorly produced booklets like they were some form of religious text.

The very next Day I was running my first Game for Philip and his Mum Rose - yes his Mum played, though to this day I still believe she didn't really understand what was going on.

As time went on, Philip and I drifted apart - he started hanging around with a bad crown and eventually died in a Car wreck caused by the driver he was with - but thats another story.

Even though I couldn't find another gaming partner, I kept reading and writing Dungeons eventually getting my interest re-kindled when I read an Advert in Starburst Magazine (anyone else remember that) for the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set - the red Box Cover edition. HOWEVER when I finally found a copy and purchased it I actually purchased the Expert Set and the AD&D Players Handbook at the same time.

I read every inch of every, devouring it voraciously.

Time passed, and I was 19 going on twenty - and being a Keyboard Player and decent Singer I joined a Band. It was at that time I met my Friend Steve Allen and started Gaming Regularly with him and another chap name Chris.

Steve is the ONLY man in the entire history of my Gaming experience to roll 18 for every stat (I kid you not) - Londarth Drogos started his life as a Basic DnD Fighter. Then progressed to an AD&D Fighter, who eventually Dual Classed as a Paladin. Londarth was strong and tough and brave, and eventually reached 25th Level in AD&D 1st Ed. Steves health stopped him playing, and eventually he passed away into the DnD Realms due to Cancer of the Bowell. Its a shame Steve didn't have 18 Con because he had 18 'Heart'.

Chris, though still alive was another Horror Story - his Girlfriend - Val, was a Christian (I'll bet you can see where this is going already) and as a consequence he was FORCED to give up DnD and BURN all his Books! Val-Dec, his Half-Orc was missed around the table. But ya gotta do etc, etc . . .

Ironically enough, Chris and Val divorced some years later and Chris now Games again!

Anyway, back to the story - One day, when rehearsing in my Garage the band members say the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual in my Holdall that I carried my gaming stuff around in - after a chat and some reading (the rehearsal went out of the window) that was it - they were hooked.

Unfortunately this meant rehearsals went on way longer than they should Lol.

In my time I've made so many friends and acquaintances and met so many interesting people because of DnD (and the journey continues) it amazes me why DnD isn't bigger than it is.

Wow, people are sensitive!

Wow, people are sensitive!

Just got 'smacked' for having a differing opinion (as in I like it) to other posters about 4e on a Yahoo-Forum. The thread began with someone asking whether he should stick with 2e or buy into 4e, I originally responded with that I really like 4e but perhaps he should stick with what he's knows and enjoys.

Actually (on a side track) I never really bought into 2e - The Kit thing was an excuse not to work on character background and motivation and there were too many 'bits' spread out here and there (3.5 got a little too much like that towards the end - making a new edition VERY important).

Hmmmmm, its odd how people praise you when you go with the pack - and yet take it VERY personally indeed when you actually enjoy something the 'majority' (OK, you can't call them the majority - if they were 4e would have already been withdrawn by now - I'm pretty sure WotC aren't financially suicidal).

I really don't understand the venom towards 4e, does anyone out there in 'Blog-Land' know?