In this carrot dangling episode we discuss rules mechanics and how they can be used to enhance roleplaying games. In particular we discuss how this is done in Rolemaster, Deadlands and Spirit of the Century. We also answer some listener questions, namely our thoughts on DnDNext, Palladium, and how to craft a classic “Who Dun It?” mystery in your games. All this, and a collection of stupid character names to boot! Continue reading
Dice of Doom Podcast 045: Rules that enhance Roleplaying Games and Crafting “Who ‘dun it?” Mysteries
Dice of Doom Podcast 044: Listener Questions, Gaming Lectern and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition
In this, the first episode of the Dice of Doom podcast of 2014, we go through a massive back log of listener’s questions regarding various aspects of games, gaming and philosophy. We also discuss our thoughts on playing through the Temple of Elemental Evil campaign for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition.
Over the course of a half hour or so your friends gather at your house. Everyone sits themselves down at the dining room table, get out their dice, fix drinks and snacks. The chit-chat centres around what everyone has been doing at work, with their family, over the weekend. Slowly, after the last person blusters through the door, superfluously apologising for the family issues which have made him late, the talk comes around to the game. We’re starting a new one tonight – a game which the GM has had in mind for a few weeks or a few months. It’s going to be a short campaign. It might take around 5 to 8 sessions to run, depending on how many family issues take up your precious session time, depending on how focussed the party might be, how many jokes get said.
Everyone is excited to try out the game. It’s going to be a Heist game. The GM briefly explains to you the basic concept of the game. It’s 1879, you’re in London, and you’re all playing criminal types. You’re going to pull a heist. Okay, now to create characters…
As I mentioned in a previous article, I don’t find the usual combat mechanics as interesting in a large scale battle as in smaller engagements. The strength in RPG combat is its ability to describe a narrative. Your individual character cuts and thrusts, dodges, deals mighty blows to enemies and receives (and hopefully endures) mighty wounds. Magic coruscates across the battlefield, glinting off shining armour and glinting weapons. Blood of many colours runs and mingles in the trodden earth. The visceral experience of combat fills your imagined senses. In the best of circumstances you imagine it deeply, can almost sense the rush of battle as you sit in the relative comfort and safety of your own dining room, perched on the edge of your dining chair. What is most compelling about the experience, however, is not the description. It is the narrative. Hopefully you care about the fate of your character and the characters of your fellow players. Every time they encounter a foe their very existence is put at risk. Yet they pit themselves against the enemy. Each twist of fate, each hard won victory is another chapter in the ever evolving and unfolding tale you share with your fellow players. It is this which drives us as role players to keep gaming, keep playing, keep daring.
Ever since Games Workshop cracked down on independent UK sellers shipping Warhammer products to Australia, I’ve been forced to get my models and books locally at a much increased cost. A few months ago, however, I found a company that can still ship UK products to Australia. And at good prices too. I tried out this company (to see if they were legit!), and what followed was an epic saga of cross-continental postage (with a happy ending)…
Over the course of this year we have been playing through the classic AD&D campaign Temple of Elemental Evil, in all its original 1st Edition glory. We have just finished the first section of the campaign (T1). I’ll be writing about how the actual module plays out in the coming weeks. In this post, however, I was interested in having a look at how the 1st Edition AD&D rules hold up in 2013, 35 years since the first AD&D book was published.
There’s a sad, sad experience that, alas, is all too familiar to gamers of any experience. Perhaps you’re at your regular game night. The lights are turned low, the story is flowing, everyone is having a good time. Around you is arrayed all the paraphernalia necessary to the pursuance of your hobby, carrying its own visceral appeal. The shine of your curiously coloured and patterned polyhedral dice. The stub of an old pencil clutched in your hand, poised to strike down the foes of your players, the stroke of its blunt graphite echoing the stroke of the character’s weapon. Snacks and drinks and character sheets litter the table, their shadows playing in the dim half light. Placing aside the graphite and wood arbiter of the destiny of NPC’s (Pencil of Doom +3 NPC bane) you pick up your rule book, briefly irked by a question from one of your players. It is pleasingly heavy, solid. Having seen heavy use it is somewhat worn on the edges, dented here and there where some angular object has been carelessly placed upon it. Perhaps there are stains on the cover, remnants of glorious late night game sessions of years gone past. You open the familiar cover, expecting the pleasing scent of a well used book
Flump. All the pages fall out.
Experience Gift Certificates are guaranteed1 to improve your character just that little extra bit. They will be stronger, more vicious in battle and, best of all, Charisma will no longer be their dump stat. Just present this certificate to your GM who is sure to agree with you that they are truly amazing and not at all annoying.2
Remember, Experience Gift Certificates are sold for entertainment purposes only. Your GM may or may not approve the use of them. If you do have trouble, just explain to them what they are for, and your GM, who already pretty super cool and awesome, is sure to allow you to use them.3
We said we’d do on our podcast, and now we have!4 Experience Gift Certificates are $1 on Drive Thru RPG. If you don’t want to tip us a dollar, don’t worry. We will be giving these out to people who give us suggestions for podcast topics that we discuss on our show. So if you think of some awesome idea for a topic for us to discuss, make sure you let us know!
As you may have read in my article on zombie horror roleplaying gaming it is my firm belief that zombie horror is best done ‘close to home’. The characters should know at least some of the zombies personally. The transition from the world as normally lived to the world infested by the walking dead should be affecting. It needs to be impactful.
To that end, when I finally got around to writing a scenario to run my group through using the All Flesh Must Be Eaten rule set (Amazon | DriveThruRPG) I decided to set it as close to home as possible. I set it in our own home town. I suppose the words ‘write a scenario’ might be giving it too much credit. I wanted the game to be more of a free form fantasy. One of the all time great nerd zen questions is ‘what would you do to survive a zombie apocalypse’ – I decided to let my players explore that idea in the game. So I purposely didn’t write anything other than the very beginning. As it was set in our home town I didn’t even have to put much work into the setting. What follows is how it all came together…
A Friday night or two ago the majority of our gaming group was over for a non-gaming social night. We were into our third bottle of wine and we started talking about gaming styles. What followed was a kind of intervention. You see, ever since our infamous Rogue Trader campaign, my brother Paul and I had had trouble getting serious when it came to playing a character. Every session was a series of joke after joke. It was starting to affect everyone’s fun…