Monday, February 28, 2011

Name of Names

How important is a name for a character? VERY. I think the name of the character, sometimes makes the character. Does a character named "Bob" or "Steve" really sound like a great warrior or a powerful wizard? OF COURSE NOT. So let's take the time to gather up some ideas for names, shall we? Well first things first, you can always go online and google, "character name generator". First glance gives us Fantasy Name Generator, which will give you a few options... go through it and have fun! Now, let's say you are over a friends house, and they don't have internet (GASP!) access or they don't allow it at the table. You can think of various names and take bits and pieces of things. For instance, let's say you are playing an Elf, and you are like, what do I call him? Easy, Elven characters generally have a name that 3 letter with a ' and then the rest of the name. So pick a random letter such as T and start putting together words... Tel... Tak.. Tir.. let's go with Tel and now we need another name... nock, nick, nome, wind.... Tel'Nok. Hey that sounds cool, let's use it. What tips can you share?

Friday, February 25, 2011

combat is too hard? lol

Some newer players looking back onto AD&D 1e or B/X D&D, are unsure how the combat system works. Maybe because they are used to the way the AC system works in 3E and 4E. Their system is ascending for better while old school is descending for better AC. The question I often get is "how do I know if I hit?" Well in 1E, players were not really allowed the information of the "to hit" numbers, thus why it was printed in the DM Guide. Players were only to, roll add or minus whatever number, and tell the DM. The DM who had the AC and the to hit chart would compare. B/X gave the players a little two hit chart they could see when building their characters, so players had an idea that what roll would hit what AC .
I've never played in an old school game where the DM gives AC out at all. Generally by the "hit or miss" theory, a player figures out what it takes to score damage on the monster at hand. This is how it should be.. but I think 3E introduced an era of Laziness on the part of DMs. Now I am not bashing 3E or 4E, but for some reason, DMs started giving out the AC, and I noticed this, as when I was in these group, players would automatically, when attacking, say, "AC?" and the DM would tell them. I've know players to get annoyed at at DM who said "just roll"

So I guess its up to the lazy DM to enforce the proper rules..

Anyhow, onto how to figure out if you hit. Basically its simple. The player rolls his D20, adds/minus' whatever modifier and gives the DM the final result, the DM will them look at the combat matrix chart for whatever character class, and see if that number hits the armor class. Its a basic cross reference thing. With sometime a DM can just know what number hits what for what class.

"That's stupid, why do that, everyone should have one method!"

No they shouldn't not everyone was able to fight with a weapon the same way. A Magic User doesn't know how to swing a sword or handle a dagger like a trained fighter would. A cleric may train a little to be in battle, but their main focus was in casting spells given by their god, spreading the word of their god through worship and then beating the hell out of things in the gods honor. A thief is used to sneaking around, trying to figure out a way to attack someone, so their focus is ways of sneaking around, using the distraction of the fighter beating on the foe, for a chance to get a perfect stab in.

I believe the reason the various hit charts slowly went away as the editions increased was to make things simpler for the DM and the players. I know with 3E and the D20 system they were trying for a faster combat system and one that a player or a DM could easily figure out if it was a hit or a miss. I don't think it really made it any easier, it just made certain classes "boring" to play. Such as a fight became so boring, as they had one great thing going for them, they could jump into battle and beat the hell out of things, hitting more then everyone else, but the "one hit system" 3E introduced took that away. Now a wizard or rogue can hit just as easy as a fighter can.

All I can say, is oh well. Long as you have fun, enjoy. Don't bash my system I grew up with, that was "rules lite" because you don't understand it or think D20 rules are better.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Playing in the Sandbox...

So let's talk sandbox games.. What is a sandbox game? Well, basically its a game that a DM/GM designs for players to travel around in and do whatever they want. Problem is, most DMs do not know how to handle this type of environment. Why? because its to "on the fly" for them. I know DMs who have been running games for 30 years who can't handle this. Can I handle this? Yes I can. My proof? Listen to the Book of Sorrows campaign podcast I host. 95% of that is on the fly DM'ing.. I gave the players the hook, they followed, and they got a general direction and I made up things as it happened. The only things I designed before game was various homemade creatures, such as the Pumpkin people or the ZapFox (once the game is over, I will post the stats). So what tips can I give for DMs who want to DM this style?

1) never railroad your players
2) give a hook for the players to follow and keep them following it.
3) be ready to name an NPC ( a list of names help)
4) be ready to describe details of something the players are encountering.
5) let the group talk amongst themselves and roleplay if you get stuck and need to think a minute.
6) taverns or inns are the perfect place to play in, as you can always make up something from a fight, to someone stealing something or as simple as there is a ton of rats in the basement.
7) for dungeons and describing rooms... think of various places you've gone or think of scary movies, and the places people run into that killer.
8) steal ideas from other DMs. There is a buttload of actual play podcasts out there, listen to a few (if you can tolerate the bad audio), jott down a few things and twist it with your warped thinking.

We'll talk more about this in the future....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can minor detail be too much?

Yes and no. Overall, yes. Its great to add flavor or details to your tavern, inn or even town. Careful though, as sometimes your minor detail will draw the attention of players to investigate something that has nothing to do with the game at hand. For example in the Book of Sorrows campaign Podcast I put up for AD&D 1E fans of the RFI Podcast, my players came into a mysterious town, and when inside the tavern, I described the eating/bar area, and happened to describe one man in too much detail, but saying he was taller, slouched over and his face was hidden. While this man had nothing to do with what was going on, my players kept watching him and asking more and more about him, until they finally had to talk to him. Who's fault is this? Mine of course, I messed up, but as a great on the fly DM that I am, I quickly worked up a purpose to him being there and I kept adding more detail to him, by saying that once in a while they noticed his gloves were off and you saw a green scaly hand. Luckily my players did not bother much with him other then try talking to him, and walked away. But here is a lesson for all you DM's out there, be careful!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The book of pure evil!

So I've been hooked on this low budgeted TV show from Canada, called Todd and the book of pure evil, thanks to a player in my online group, Terry. The show at first I thought was a bit lame, but after watching the first five episodes, I am really hooked on the show. The show is like a Buffy the Vampire with a mix of Saved by the Bell in it. Take out all the mushy romance Buffy had, and add in cursing, and various camera shots that show off various character's bodies, and then add some silly stoner humor in there.

Basically the show goes like this, Todd, Curtis, Jenny, and Hannah are students at Crowley High, the only high school in a small town secretly founded by Satanists. After encountering a cursed magical tome with a mind of its own, the Book of Pure Evil, which grants the wishes of those who hold it in dark and sinister ways they didn't intend, they team up in an attempt to track down and destroy the Book, although it has an unfortunate tendency to fly away after its spells are undone. Each episode revolves around a student at Crowley High using the Book to try and make their life better, though this usually results in chaos, mayhem, and bloodshed at the school. Todd and his gang then fight against whatever the Book has done, and try to keep Crowley High from being totally destroyed. Supposedly friendly school guidance counsellor Atticus Murphy helps them in their quest to destroy the Book, though secretly he is a member of the cabal of Satanists who run the town from behind the scenes, and has been tasked with returning the Book of Pure Evil to the leader of the cultists, who happens to be his own father.

So the episodes are a bit silly, but the cast does a good job of pulling you into the story. So far there is only one season... but there is another one in production. Sadly, the website for this show there is a problem watching the show, so you have to jump on or download the show to watch it until its fixed.
Overall 4.5 out of 5... Let's use on the Evil Scale. If reading this doesn't convince you to try it, the show has Jay Mewes in it as the every-so-ready to give advice janitor....
Todd and the book of pure evil

Monday, February 21, 2011


OK so I went to bed last night, and then woke up around 2am, to see it was snowing. Big deal huh? The thing about it, was that it was a couple of inches already, and I quickly turned on the weather to see we were getting upto 10 inches of snow, the heavy stuff coming in at about 6 to 9 am time period. GREAT. How the hell is this possible, after we just had three nice days of weather in the near 60s. I knew it was too good to be true. Damn you stupid groundhog... *shakes fist*

So, I crawled out of bed, got dressed, and dug out my car. There was so much snow, the car itself had 6 inches or more on it.

I just can't believe this....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why is the Sky Blue? Because the DM SAID SO!

Why why why? Players often question a DM, when they think they are being cheated out of something. I noticed this happens a lot more in the new editions then in the older editions. Why? because the later editions have so many rules, and so much written out of things you can and can't do. Basically they took the adjudication away from the DM.

Why did they do this? Well, I think its because people expected more with new rules... stressing on the rules part.

I guess what I am thinking or trying to say, is that I like less rules, because I can decide what works, and 99% of the time my players dont mind because it keeps the pace of the fun moving along.

What do you do for rules?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sun Sun Go...away?

Wow woke up today with some minor back pain and looked outside to see the sun was shining and the snow was melting. I looked at my phone and it said 66 degrees! I was shocked that it was so warm, and it's only february! I know this won't last as the next day said the high was 30 and it was going to snow next week. I guess so much for the mountain of snow next my house melting away.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finally...THE ROCK... has come back to the WWE!

Ahh.. the most electricfying man in wrestling is back. The Rock is very entertaining, from his days when he came into his own, in the nation of domination, where he was fueding with Stone Cold Steve Austin over the IC Belt (which Austin threw into the river), to the days he was singing and playing guitar in the middle of the ring for fans everywhere!

What is in store for fans of this new generation that never saw the Rock in action? Well if he is used right, fans should the best set of shows on monday night to date.  Now have Austin, The Ministry of Darkness Undertaker,  DX, the Corporation and SGT Slaughter as the commish, and we will have the "Attitude Era" back! Miss those days.

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