Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

D30 Days: Day 5 Your Favorite Set of Dice/Individual Die

I've got a few favorites in my dice collection, including individual pieces and sets.  I would like to say that any of my Gamescience dice made the cut, but, alas, they did not.  I don't have any pictures of these to share with you, but since we're all good at using our imagination, let's do that.

My most recent find is this off-white 20-sided D5 that I have.  It came in the ubiquitous Pound-O-Dice product that we are no doubt all familiar with.  I've been looking for something like that for a long time.  Now I just need a 20-sided D10 and I'm a happy camper.

My other favorite is a set of mini Dwarven Stones made from some sort of green semi-precious stone, and I forget the name of said stone.  They're a far cry from precise, but they're fun.  I also have a set of small Koplow gray/black dice with a silvery finish that a pretty awesome.  I like small dice, yes.

I also like big dice.  I have a gigantic D20 that I give people when I think they've had one too many good rolls without my eyes on them.  I have a big ol' D6 and D4 for the same reasons.  That and it unnerves the players when I toss those out on the table for attack and damage rolls!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

D30 Days: Day 4 Favorite Gameworld

This one is also easy - my favorite game world is my own.  Beginning in my freshman year of high school (a lot of guys out there start this sentence referencing college, but I never went), I began work on a world called Helenista.  It was not quite vanilla D&D, and it was based around 2nd Edition.  It had a heavy Greek/Roman influence with the Empire of Thrace at its center (no historical basis - the only similarity would be there was an emperor).  It was fun, and the players pillaged the whole continent for about 8 years of real time, and topped out about 12th level.  In fact, 6-12 was the sweet spot for that campaign. 

Before that I had used the assumed setting that was developed for various modules for BECMI, the Known World.  I like that world just fine, but I like my own much better.  I've never run the Realms, or Dragonlance, or Dark Sun.  I did enjoy playing a Spelljammer scenario one time, but I've never run it.

Now I'm hard at work on my new world, which is heavy on the swords, sorcery, and demon fronts.  There are no elves, no dwarves, and definitely no halflings.  I'm using Swords & Wizardry as the base, with a mongrelization in nearly every subsystem from some other OSR ruleset or official D&D game version.  I like to world-build through mechanics, and I also world-build through monsters.  Now I'm to the point where I'm taking the drawn map and working on transferring it to a numbered hex map so I can plan the hexcrawl aspect of the campaign.  It's going to be a ton of fun.  Especially for me.  I'm blessed with players who don't know the meaning of "run!"

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

D30 Days: Day 3 Favorite Playable Class

Easy answer:  wizard.  I am enamored with the way magic bends and often breaks the rules of the various iterations of D&D.  I tend to enjoy the way the older versions of the game work in this regard, especially.  Often, I am able to find an alternative application for a given spell or convince a DM to let me do something a little offbeat.

I haven't played a wizard in a long, long time.  I haven't played in a long, long time.  I'm trying to change that, though.  My ideal next character in any fantasy game would be of the magic-using variety, and he'll not be afraid to traffic with the darker side of magic.  You see, I tend to think along the lines of the old pulp writers, where magic is regarded as something quite otherworldly, certainly anything but ordinary, and often just plain dangerous to use.  Wizards in my upcoming OSR-mashup campaign are going to be people that risk everything for knowledge.  

Since I haven't played in so long, I'm going to stop here with this post, in order to preserve my writing energy for later, but suffice it to say, I get all kinds of insidious enjoyment from magic.  Just ask anyone who has played in one of my campaigns.  Remember when the lich burned down the capital of the Thracian Empire, guys?  And you never even saw it coming....

D30 Days: Day 2 Favorite Playable Race

Well, here I was hoping not to be behind, and I'm already behind by a day.  I have a good excuse, dear readers.  I am in two bands and that requires time and practice.

'Nuff said.

On to my favorite playable race.

This is a preference that has evolved over time for me.  It used to be that I liked playing anything with a ton of interesting powers.  Many of us do this when we first start out.  "Why be a human, something so ordinary, in a fantasy game?" we think.  We want to make it as fantastic as possible, and the lure of special ability after special ability heaped on top of each other still induces drooling in me from time to time, especially when thinking back on The Complete Humanoid's Handbook.  (Here's where I say that if you haven't played a voadkyn before, beware lest you become stuck in a dungeon corridor.)

However, over time, I've become enamored of Humans in D&D.  I never have to remind myself what the character looks like outside of costume or weaponry or coloration, and I don't have to worry about hiding pointed ears.  Plus, the benefits of being human in more recent editions of our game have proven to be highly enticing.  Pathfinder's benefits for being a human are nice, as were v.3.5's.

That said, I want to relate the tale of a character named Relivane that I played in a 2nd Edition campaign long ago, during high school.  He was a human thief, and he couldn't do anything right.  The dice were cursed at every turn for him.  Climbing a wall meant inevitably falling and hurting himself.  Sneaking around meant getting caught.  Finding a trap meant unleashing it on himself.  And it really was just how the dice fell - nothing I did on purpose contributed to this.  But it was the most fun I ever had holding the player's end of the stick, which I admittedly haven't done nearly as much as I'd like to have done (I'm one of those guys that is found running the game most times).  

Why was Relivane so much fun?  Well, I took a sick delight in seeing his every bone crushed as he fell repeatedly from heights of 30 feet or more.  I also enjoyed wading into combat, only to miss my attacks and be spitted on someone's spear.  When the cleric felt he shouldn't heal him any more because he was costing too many resources, I found that a peculiar sort of challenge to see how long Relivane could hold out without being healed.  Turns out, he was never killed in action.  The campaign retired before he could meet his end.

I'm sure by now you're asking why this rambling post has anything to do with humans being my favorite race to play?  Well, let's put it in straightforward terms.  I enjoy the day-to-day foolishness of the human race in the real world.  I like to bring some of that to every human character I play.  I've never played the vicious, merciless fighter.  I've never played the stalwart paladin or cleric.  I've never played the prancing bard.  Those stereotypes don't interest me.  With a human character, I feel as if I have carte blanche in the campaign world, and it's nice.  Relivane was a fool and a charlatan, and he was horrible at his job, but it wasn't his fault.  The dice hated him.  Every time.  But he gained a reputation for being horrible at thieving, and that was the best part about that character.  Through no fault of his own, he was a fool.  I played him seriously, and I often would argue the point that his faults were not his own, that fate had it out for him.  It became a shtick, and it was great.

(My next play goal is to have a linguist character who talks the party out of bad situations instead of carving those situations to pieces with steel.  That might drive some of the other action-oriented guys a bit nuts from time to time, but I'll pick and choose my times.)