Monday, February 23, 2015

You Should GM: DM Roundtable

A couple of weeks ago, Wizards of the Coast posted a video offering Dungeon Master advice from DMs around their office.  It's all stuff with which long-term GMs are familiar, but it might be worth a look for anybody just starting out.  And if you have a spare 77 minutes lying around.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tom Braider

Having recently finished Tomb Raider — despite my previously-stated plan, I decided to pause between Dragon Age II and Dark Souls — and still having AD&D on the brain, I found those two ideas weirdly synchronize.

There'll be mild spoilers ahead, so be wary of those.

For those of you who don't know, this is a reboot of the franchise in which an archaeological expedition hits some foul weather and shipwrecks on an abandoned island in its best Lost impression.  Lara Croft — a mere stripling of an archaeologist, and not the action protagonist treasure-seeker of previous games — is separated from the group.  After almost dying several times, she manages to find the others and uncover the secrets of the island.

Despite the more-or-less linear gameplay, they manage to make a neat little island hexcrawl with all the hallmarks of D&D.  Resource management isn't actually a thing, but one of the first objectives is to find food, and ammunition is always threatening to run out, even though it never truly does.  You don't actually risk starvation, but hunting and foraging are core mechanics.  As befits a game called Tomb Raider, the island is pock-marked by numerous small tombs, and tons of relics dot the island.

Plus, there are (admittedly simplistic) factions.  The main secret of the isle revolves around the worship of the so-called "Sun Queen," and the two groups are mildly antagonistic to each other despite both being her cultists.  (On more than one occasion, the appearance of one group distracts the other, allowing you to escape certain doom.)  On the one hand, you have legions of the Sun Queen's undying samurai, and on the other, you have a cult of shipwreck survivors who believe the Sun Queen will allow them to escape if they can provide her spiritual essence with a new vessel to inhabit.

It's not quite The Isle of Dread, but I would love to run an island hexcrawl of this nature.  Instead of idols and gems and gold, treasure tends to be food and whatever you can scavenge to craft the things you need to survive.  (How often do the crafting rules get game time, anyway?)  And in the meantime, you can have all the D&D weirdness of exploration, magic, secrets, and tombs.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tower of the Stargazer for 5e

I ran Tower of the Stargazer for D&D 5e, and neglected to put my notes up here.

So, here are Tower of the Stargazer 5e conversion notes.

I used a gold treasure standard, but you're of course free to do as you'd like.

Incidentally, it went about as well as one might expect — the thief fell victim to one of the mirrors, and then wandered off by himself to steal the golden thread, which went about as well as one would expect.  The other three PCs survived, gained the thread, and profited from his fatal mistake.

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