Category Archives: Adventures in Gaming

Sometimes we get together and play an RPG.

DIY Dungeon Terrain

So I’ve had this idea for quite a while and finally the folks over at Gnome Stew threw up this little post and I finally got off my butt and made some simple and inexpensive Dungeon Terrain.

Here’s the materials list:

3/4 inch x 3/4 inch (That’s about 2 CM x 2 CM) square doweling (I got three 3 foot pieces, so that’s 9 feet of wall and it cost only about $7.50).

Spray Primer (Already had in the garage but should only cost a couple of bucks.)

Gray and Black paint (Once again, I already this laying around but only a couple of bucks more.)

Clear Acrylic Spray Coat (Yes, I have a lot stuff around the garage but only a couple of bucks more.)

Depending on good your selection of local home improvement stores is, you’ll probably spend between $15 and $20.

1. Cut the dowels into conveint lengths.  (I did 1 inch for doors, then 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 inch lengths.)

2. Sand down any rough spots.

3. Prime it.

4. Paint it.

5. Seal it.  And you are done.

I decided to go with 3/4 inch for a couple of reasons. One there was a huge price difference between 3/4 and 1 inch.  Also, I wanted the walls to be shorter than the miniatures.  There’s always one person who won’t lean forward or stand up to see that “hidden” orc behind the wall in front of them.

You can paint as much detail as you want.  I just went with a simple gray and then painted black lines every inch or so.  I’m not that exact when it comes to laying out dungeons.  It’s just one of those things that I think “close enough” is good enough.

Yes, I just realized that the door is upside down.

Another cool thing you can do is make stairs with the various lengths.

Dwarves always want to smack the elf upside the head.

So there you go. Some inexpensive, durable, easy to make and light weight dungeon terrain.

I Love World Building

Really, I do. For me it’s a neat little creative exercise. Creating a setting that’s just rife with adventure seeds. That has its own feel and all sorts of ways the players can go out and adventure.
Hell, it’s almost like playing the game. As each little bit is created, it’s just like when the characters learn something new. There’s that odd bit excitement and the feeling of anticipation to go and see what the next city, dungeon or whatever is like. As I’m creating this I’m discovering. Damn, it’s fun.
You know what else is fun? Twisting the tropes and putting the completely unexpected out there. Let’s be honest. We’re at point that if you don’t start putting a little spin on all those tropes things are going to get pretty boring. And nobody likes boring.

Crypts & Things: Some Actual Play

As luck would have it our DM for the Friday nigh game was taken ill so I threw out the idea for a Crypts & Things one shot and the group agreed. I quickly rolled up 8 third level pre-generated characters (two of each class) on Thursday night and was off.
We played it mostly by the rules as written but I did throw in a couple of my own crazy ideas. For rolling up the characters, I used the 6+d6+d6 Method. Basically, all scores start off at 6. Roll 6d6 and arrange to your liking. Then 1d6 for each stat in order. It pushed the probability towards making of a decent character of a particular class without diverging too much from the good old roll 3d6 and quit crying. Overall, I think the players really enjoyed the game. It was a fresh break from Pathfinder. And everyone picked up the rules quickly. We did make a couple observations during the game. The fighter actually seemed like the weakest class. He’s got a bad save and that made it difficult for him to do anything. Additionally, he wasn’t that much better at fighting than the Barbarian or Thief. It turned out that the Thief armed with a bow turned out to be the best damage dealer in the party. The group liked the damage system especially getting all their HP back after 8 hours of rest. Magic was useful and the magician started down that slippery slope to insanity after failing four saves during the session. Another interesting thing is that this is the first time in many years we ran a combat heavy session without using miniatures. And did I mention fast. Yeah, the combat was really quick compared to the endless cross referencing that we were used to. Personally, my biggest surprise was the amount of enjoyment, the players got out of the life events chart. (Hmm, maybe I should write up some longer ones.)
So yes. I definitely want run this again but with more preparation and few tweaks (more about those in later posts).
Here’s some random and crazy notes about what happened during the session.
I decided to go quickly tweak introductory adventure in the back of the book and throw in a couple more encounters to make things interesting. To give the players some ownership of the pregens, each of them rolled four times on the life events chart. After the dust settled this is how the characters knew each other.
The sorceress and the fighter were brother and sister (and not having an incestuous relationship) were in service to their father (who was not an evil sorcerer). Their father orders them to retrieve the lost spell book of Nizar-Thun for his collection or he’ll start charging his lazy kids rent. To help them in their quest Here’s a Thief and a Barbarian. And another Barbarian, Thudthack, who needs to go because Dad’s pet demon grew bored of him and he’s got to go. A little quick haggling with Igor the Castle Quartermaster for supplies and the little group was off.
Random Encounter the First: Group of three bounty hunters who stumble across party. They weren’t very bright. The bounty hunters were on the trail of this evil sorcerer and his crazy family who live somewhere in this area. The party convinces the bounty that they know nothing of evil sorcerers and that they should at that castle about a days walk back in that direction. Yes, they sent them back to dear old dad “who isn’t evil, just misunderstood”.
Random Encounter the Second: Moth Worms attack. A good fight but nothing special.
Enter the Town of Nor-Haven: A small little village at the edge of the swamp. The party starts complaining about the lack of Mouth Worm warning signs. One of the yokels explains to him that he is the local sign maker and there signs all over the place. The party quickly realizes that not only can was this guy illiterate, he might have still been the smartest guy in the village. The party spends an eventful evening and then overpays form some crappy canoes the next morning.
Serpent Men Ambush: The party gets ambushed. Poor Thudthack will forever be known as the barbarian who could stand up in waist high water and got sliced and diced by a pair of serpent men.
The actual dungeon: I won’t go into because it’d be spoiler filled. But I think the highlight was at the very end when party goes to cross a bottomless pit using some rope and really didn’t pause to think about that a demon that still on the loose until said demon showed up and started cutting the rope.

Ten Dumb Things We’ve Seen on RPG Forums

Paraphrased of course.

1. Your game says I need dice. What are dice?

2. My DM says that my half-demon half-Drow paladin assassin ninja isn’t a legal character. I think he’s just being jerk. I know I say a rule somewhere. Does anybody know where?

3. My players are complaining that I’m too stingy with XP. Heck, the campaign has only been going on for a year and they’re already second level.

4. How can I make Lolth my sex slave?

5. I’m really broke. Could someone please scan the book post it on the Internet?

6. The rest of my players are mad that I give my girlfriend extra XP when she puts out. I’m afraid if I stop giving her the XP then she won’t like me anymore. What should I do?

7. So the players gave an NPC a thoroughly logical and well thought out argument. But none of them had any social skills. So I told them that they failed. They got mad but rules are rules.

8. I can’t find character generation in rule book where is it?

9. I’m working on a home brew RPG. I need play testers. (Then this person is never heard from again.)

10. I read that a katana can cut through anything. It’s true because I’m an ex-Navy SEAL ninja.

Evil Adventurers Aren’t That Different

We tried a campaign with an evil party. They did a good job at not being your average high school-screw the other character- evil, the players were totally who cares about about collateral damage and ends justify the means evil. And they were  off to save the world. I know it sounds odd. But Evil folks like the world too and dang it if somebody is going to screw it up, it’s going to be them not some tentacle faced aberration. They actually started to role play and then this little scene played out:

Evil Wizard: I just learned that there is a powerful magical artifact hidden in a Good temple.

Evil Bard: Why don’t we just ask them for it? I’m sure they want to save the world too.

Evil Cleric: No way! Remember last time. That they saved the world. Did they ask us for our artifact? NO! They just stormed the place. Killed everybody, took our artifact and anything else that wasn’t nailed down.

Evil Fighter: He’s got a point. I think they even stole the furniture. What were they going to do with that?

Where do summoned monsters come from

So where do all the summoned animals come from? This came up in our little gaming group a while back. I mean just think about the Summon Nature’s Ally spell for Druids. Is there a room somewhere filled with animals just waiting to be summoned? I bet it looks like a bizarre cross between Grand Central Station and Noah’s Ark. I can just see a group of dire badgers sipping on double mocha lattes; just waiting for their number to come up.
”So, Bob. You heard what happened to Frank the other day?”
”Wasn’t he summoned by that druid Urban Spawl-Killer?”
”Yeah, he never came back. Just like that bear the other day.”
”Joe was such a nice guy.”
”We could ask Tom the Weasel. He came back.”
”Are you kidding? Tom went bat shit insane. He keeps screaming that the Orcs are gonna get him.”
”You ever notice that most of us never come back after being summoned. And the few that do, just don’t come back right.”
”Wow. It really sucks to be us.”
”Yeah.”
”Paging! Bob the dire badger. Bob the dire badger! You’ve been summoned by Urban Sprawl-Killer. Bob please report for summoning.”
”Shit.”

Old School @ Will Powers

Those fancy “at-will” powers in 4th Ed D&D ain’t nothing new. We had those back in the good old pure days of the One True White Box. Now it was simpler back then we didn’t mess with all those fancy Feats or “Skills” but each class had it’s own “at will” powers. Let me break it down for all you youngsters out there.

Fighter kill shit.

Thief steal shit. (There were no sissy Rogues. They were thieves. Dammit.)

Cleric heal shit.

Magic User blow up shit. (No, emo goth sorcerers. Just Wizards and we called them Magic Users.)

Now, get the hell of my lawn.