Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quick Update

I feel like I have have created allot for DnD, and have allot more I want to create for DnD. That was the point of this blog. I wanted to share what I have with others.

I have come to two unfortunate conclusions. 1, my job does not and outside commitments often tied to my job must come before this, and take up a surprising amount of time. 2, I don't expect anyone to read this site if I don't update on some kind of regular schedule with content of a certain quality.

I still have the desire to write and post. There's a few things I really want to explore, especially in the area's of dnd and technology, solo dnd in wiki format, and easy to use, fun monsters.

If anyone has a blog, and is looking for guest writers, I would love to hear from you. You can post here or email me at bal112083(at)gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Solo D&D

The World's Worst Video Game? 

Some people on Twitter (I use Twitter much like an RSS Newsfeed for RolePaying) have been talking lately about Solo Dungeons and Dragons. I don't know much about SDnD, but the concept intrigues me, mostly because my gut says there is no such thing.

Now you can drop Solo D&D into Google and come up with plenty of results, so of course it exists, but is something Dungeons and Dragons just because you have a Dungeon Master's Guide in your lap? My instincts say no. You have to have another person. Dungeons & Dragons, at its core, is a social game. Without someone else playing with you, you've just stumbled into a low tech Balder's Gate.

Yet, the concept does not horrify me. I kept thinking about it, even after my initial research. I like video games. I like Dungeons and Dragons. Enough people are clearly passionate about this. It has its flaws, but maybe we can fix them? Let's take a look at what I see as the immediate issues SDnD.

It's not Social

This is of course it's most distinguishing characteristic. It's a solo game. I don't propose we change this, as then we are talking about another activity all together. However, just because something is single player, doesn't mean it can't be social.

For this matter, the internet provides the key. If one type, model, or source of content, for SDnD was popular enough then people would gather in forums there. They could compare adventures, character builds for solo running (which has to be balanced in whole new way), even compare tactics.

Some adventures could have a way to provide points, or accomplishments along the way. There could then be some kind of scoreboard, or publicly hosted character site. Even the top scores on a pinball machine have a social aspect to it.

Predictable Combat

You've got that stats for your PC. You've got the stats for the monsters. You're trusting yourself to not plan ahead and do your best to really try to kill you're PC, and not act on any knowledge you have about the stats you have in front of you that might not have been revealed to the PC or monster yet. I don't buy it. I mean, look at how long that sentence was.

I suppose the solution would to not present the whole Monster Stat block, but instead a series of what if hidden boxes. Like a spoiler box on a forum, or text that needs to be highlighted. You don't see the Will defense till you try and target it. You have a box that says 'When Bloodied' which perhaps says 'Nothing happens' when revealed, but you just don't know that the first time you play this adventure.

It makes it easier to allow yourself to stay surprised. Its still more like trying to solve a puzzle with limited outcomes. A paragraph on monster tactics will never replace a thinking, not you, DM.


The easiest way to do this is with a very linear story/dungeon. You must go this way, after you finish this, is much easier to write in this situation, because you are the DM, and you don't want to reveal the big secrets till the end.

Yet I am reminded of choose you're own adventure books. They let you make choices. My instincts tell me this could work really well in a wiki format. For door one click here, door two click here.

For places, or people, who may have changed depending on what you've done, you could use coded, tracked accomplishments. When you find the key on the skeleton lords body, a little note tells you to add #1342 to your list of accomplishments. Later, when you get to the baron's basement door there's a box of hidden information labeled 'If you have Accomplishment #1342'. The hidden text reveals that if you try this key the door opens.

Another accomplishment could be something less positive. If you fail to save the Baker's Daughter, you gain an accomplishment for that. Next time you're in the bakery there is a large box of a hidden text for that accomplishment. You find the Baker to be less friendly.

Needs work.

Monday, July 19, 2010

DM Report 07/14/2010

I run an open, Sandbox like world in my current campaign. For the most part, I still strive to make most encounters challenging without being overwhelming. However, I made it quite clear to my players at the start, there are certain things in this world that are established at a certain level. Go there too soon, and it will not scale down to you.

Recently, my players came across a large temple. It was meant to be a bit of a dungeon crawl, where players had to work their way from the bottom to the top. My players decided to fly to the top (they have a hipogriff), and start looking around up there. Never, ever, do I like to discourage creative thinking, so even though I knew I didn't want them to get into the room at the top before the rest of the temple, I didn't stop things. When they made good rolls, I gave good information. Eventually I let them blow off a bot of the wall, in the very last room of the dungeon crawl and go in there.

The rewards present by clearing this room were really great. If they managed to win, pulling off this crazy idea of starting here, they may not bother going down at all. This fight was meant to be a very challenging fight for them at the end, after they had gained two more levels. I did not scale it down. I killed two pcs that night, as they all fled for their lives.There was allot of profanity at the table. Everyone had an awesome time.

Whenever, the party is getting walloped I try to remember my DM tips more so than usual. Getting walloped by someone doing really cool things (described by the DM) and talking to you the whole time, is much more fun than the DM rolling lots of dice.

Now they know what to expect in that room. They've resolved to go back in the front door, and hit that final room hard, with a plan, and no less than a full party. Its going to be great.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Free Orc Friday! Celestial War Paladin

A long, long time ago. . .

There was a band of savage, orc nomads. They wandered barren wastelands, fighting among other nomadic groups and occasionally raiding the nearest towns. One day they crossed paths with a band of adventurers, among them a cleric of a goddess of fire and war. They were beaten so thoroughly, and put in such a frenzy f terrified awe, that they swore themselves to the goddess, and soon became feared in their own right.

Many traveled to the goddess' realm during the Divine War, and their decedents kept up this warrior tradition, being called on, in small groups whenever the goddess wills it.

Celestial War Paladin Level 14 Soldier
Medium immortal humanoid XP 1,000
Initiative +12 Senses Perception +11
HP 141; Bloodied 70
AC 30; Fortitude 27; Reflex 25; Will 26
Resist 10 fire
Speed 5

[m] Longsword (standard; at-will) • Fire, Weapon
+21 vs AC; 1d10 + 6 damage plus 1d8 fire damage, and the target is marked until the end of the Celestial War Paladin’s next turn

[M] Bolstering Strike (standard; at-will) • Radiant, Weapon
+21 vs AC; 2d8 + 6 radiant damage, and one ally within 2 gains +2 to defenses till the start of the war paladins next turn.

[M] Warrior's Surge (standard, usable only while bloodied; encounter) • Healing, Weapon
The orc raider makes a melee basic attack, spends a healing surge, and regains 45 hit points.

Alignment Unaligned Languages Giant
Skills History +12, Religion +12
Str 22 (+13) Dex 16 (+10) Wis 18 (+11)
Con 21 (+12) Int 11 (+7) Cha 15 (+9)
Equipment Plate Armor, Heavy Shield, Longsword

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oathbound: Spellblind Part II

Please note: There was a mistake on the last Spellblind post, where the Oath was written to give the Spellblind only a +1 bonus. This bonus is meant to scale, as you level and has been corrected.


Spellblind Protector

"Even as my allies spout on about how they are in control of their powers and items, so I am called to stand in front and protect them from harms way. Yet I shall do so. A child who knows no truth of the world needs all the more protection."

Prerequisites: Spellblind Oath, Oathbound: Spellbound Feat, Defender Role

You have set an example for others to follow that one not need to dependent on magic to do great things. Not only have you kept pace with your magic wielding counterparts but you continually protect them from the harm. Much if that harm coming from magic, you might add. Over time, you've become more and more adept at the natural art of magical interruption.

Spellblind Protector Path Features

Hidden from Arcane Eyes (11th Level): The DC for all scrying on your person is increased by 5. At level 20 the DC increases by 10.

Intense Action (11th Level): When you spend an action point to take an extra action all enemies in a close burst 3 are marked until the end of your next turn.

Grounded Mind (16th Level): You may roll 1 saving throw at the start of your turn, for any domination, dazed, or fear effect that a save can end. If you are granted a saving throw at the start of your turn through any other feature, you must use this saving throw against a separate effect.

[M] Protective Strike (Weapon) Encounter  Spellblind Protector Attack 11
Standard Action    Melee 1
Target: One Creature
Attack: Strength or Constitution vs AC
Hit: [2]W + Strength or Constitution Modifier damage and all adjacent allies gain a bonus to defenses equal to either your Charisma or Wisdom Modifier till the end of your next turn.

Stubborn Preservation   Encounter   Spellblind Protector Utility 12
Immediate Interrupt   Personal 
Trigger: An enemy hits your Will Defense
Effect: Your will increases by +4 till the start of your next turn.

[M] Aura Killer (Weapon)   Daily   Spellblind Protector Attack 20
Standard Action    Melee 1
Target: One Creature Marked by you
Attack: Strength or Constitution vs Fortitude
Hit: 4[W] + Strength or Constitution Modifier damage and the creatures aura ends (save ends).