Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Podcast and quick update.

Podcast is here.  We finally got back to it and I think that we should be getting back to a regular schedule of getting podcasts out.

Did another playtest, and more will be said about that next time.  Or, listen to the podcast and it gives you many of my thoughts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thoughts for the OSR about D&D Next...

I know, two blog posts in one day, wow!


Earlier, I was reading some stuff Jeff posts over here.  He makes an excellent point.  Yes, there should be some sort of grinding for those who want a more "old school" feel to this new game.  I know mnay would probably say, "Why not just go back and use the old stuff?"  Good point again.

But, I can see much potential in the little bare bones play test put out by WotC.  I can see hacking away at some of the stuff, like the HD mechanic and the extended and short rest.  And, I can see bolting on bits and pieces from other games, making some kind of game that isn't quiet D&D Next, nor "old school."

I think there is a happy medium out there, and it might be D&D Next.  How?  Well, if you look at the play test, yes there isn't much there.  But, that can be a very good thing.  Use it how you want to use it.  Get back to WotC and say, "Hey this is what I did and I liked it because of X."  Or, "I didn't like this or this, this is how I houseruled it."  You never know, it might help.  Or, WotC might take your idea and throw it away.  Who knows.

Personally, I am liking many aspects of this new iteration of the rules.  There are somethings that are a little wonky, yet they can be smoothed over with either a house rule or maybe waiting until we get to the next "patch" in a few weeks.

One thing it has done is spur me towards re-thinking my own game world and how to integrate these rules into the rule systems that I use.  I love the fact that they use the Caves of Chaos and can't wait for more..

One of the big things that helped was the idea of this small sandbox, the Caves.  I plan on using it, to some extent, yet there needs to be a base, and people and allies and enemies and just that small little setting has me thinking and plotting more and more.

Of course, this is all my opinion...what do you all think?

D&D Next Playtest Part two

Well, I was able to get to a playtest last night of D&D Next.  Though, I didn't go in as the DM, but as a player.  That is fine, since I might be able to get some players together for a playtest as a DM soonish.

I must say that I like it!  I went in with three other players, well ok let me back up...

The VERY first thing I did was play with just the DM and I was running three characters.  The Human priest, the dwarf fighter and the halfling rouge.  I went into the cave on the right, the first one on the second level and was almost wiped out by the orcs there.  The fighter went down, the priest ran off with the dwarf dragging behind him and the halfing, well the halfling couldn't do much.  (I was lucky that the DM allowed for the other two members of the playtest to be nearby and ready to lend aid.  POtherwise, I would have been smoked.

But, then I had help with some other players and when we started again, we were able to destroy the orc lair.  We had a nearly full playtest, the only class not used was the rouge.  Which I might try if given a chance down the line.  I played the human priest of Pelor.  However, it almost cost the dwarf his life, since the wizard decided to use grease to great effect.  Then, thought using his shocking grasp would be a way to take down a prone enemy.  He did not realize it might ignite the grease. Or, that pouring water on the table (which was on fire) would spread the grease fire around.  (Yes, the mage wasn't thinking clearly, at all.)

Overall, I will say that the playtest was fun.  I like the advantage/disadvantage mechanic.  I am still sort of offput by the at-will powers of magic missile and radiant lance.

I was part of the Live Chat put on by D&D Next and they did say they would probably tone done the spells.  Which, I like, yet I don't want magic missile to go back to 4E with a static number.  I would say bump it back up to an actual spell.  Yes, it can only be used as often as it was memorized, but giving a mage a spam button, and the priest too, felt wonky to me.

I know that without them, most people will see mages and clerics as "useless" after using their spells.  A wizard or mage doesn't lose the ability to cast, he is still a mage.  He has just grown tired and cannot channel the arcane forces anymore.  I would say if you want to keep "spamming" the magic missile button, then that is fine.  Yet, there must be a cost to it.  It starts to wear away at your CON stat, or eats away at hit points or something.

However, I did think of a compromise.  Allow for the magic missile to be the cantrip d4+1, yet it does not scale.  The spell magic missile, that you could get at 1st level, does scale as you level up.

Friday, May 25, 2012

D&D Next Playest Part one

I am calling this part one because I'm hoping the second part will include a playtest in the near future.

I have been looking it over, after many errors that might have been WotC misjudging the volume of people, a simple oversight or them messing up.  The short answer is, yeah they had trouble when putting it out this morning, yet it is now in my little hands now.

Second, I must say so far, without having any chance to truly play it yet, there is some 3E stuff, blended with 4E ideas, with a dash of the older school ideas.  I will say there are things I like and things I don't like.  Can't really go into things, because of the rules set forth by WotC.

IF they set forth these rules, in book format, I would buy it and run it with a few bits of tinkering.  More later...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Been awhile...

Many things have happened, I did not expect that hiatus to hit me.  I apologize, I was working on a novel and then things sort of slipped away from me.  Yet, it happens.  This is just going to be a shotgun kind of update.

I have still been gaming, yet not as much.  I have run two sessions of my 1st ed. Sydell game for my Sunday group and that first session was great because I had more than one player finally.  We had a full group delve back into Stonehell.  Then, just last Sunday I took up the DM mantle again and only two people were able to show.  We soldiered on for awhile, then called a end of session when they had cleared out a nice chunk of a section.  I must say that Michael Curtis and his Stonehell project are amazing.  (I know I have been a little coy about what I was using for a bit.  Don't care.  I trust my players to not rush out and buy it or download the thing.  Plus, if they did, it wouldn't help.  I change a few things here and there to either make things more fun for me or to blend in more story to the game itself.)

The other game I have played a session or two of since I last wrote this blog was a steam punk sci-fi game my friend created called Into the Black.  Starting to really get into the meat of the game now, which I have been hoping would come a little sooner.  But, it hit with the force of a dump truck and sent us reeling.  I am more on board now than before.

Finally got back to reading the blog list, though I know I will never read all the ones I missed.  One that I saw recently grabbed me.  GROGNARDIA had an interesting idea.  The idea has some merit to it and I know that some of my players would love to give it a shot for the challenge.  Others would say I like "hard mode" to much.

Also, been playing some Diablo III and until recently, I wasn't impressed.  I have it on normal difficulty, plus I am a very casual gamer when it comes to video games of all kinds.  Yes, exploring the land of Sanctuary is fun and hearing the lore of the different creatures has a benefit.  But ultimately, it is a hack-n-slash and that never appealed much to me.  I am sure I will go back and play more of it, though there is no great NEED to finish it or keep playing.

Last Monday, Mike Mearls wrote up another column for Legends & Lore, talking about hit points.  It is an interesting read and I know many on the OSR blogshpere have already ripped into it.  I am going to focus on the survey option that he had at the end of the article.  It was short, and at one point there was a chance for me to give feedback.  Below is what I wrote verbatim:

I feel that there is a trend to get "back" those lost when the game went from 3.5 to 4.  Yet not enough is done to get back the older edition players.  To many of the "old guard" gamers are told we hear you, yet the feel of the column trends towards those lost recently.  I could be wrong, yet this is my opinion, and I have ever hope to swallow my words along with a big piece of crow pie.

Every word of it I feel is true.  So much of the D&D Next sounds like it is geared towards those who played 3.5 before the change over.  And, to many of us who stopped keeping up with the newer editions, though didn't stop playing the game, there is a sense that we were left in the cold.  I keep hearing the rumors that this game will allow for any edition lover to come to, play their favorite version and allow others to play their own without any problems.  And, if true, the last sentence I wrote will be just as true.

I LOOK FORWARD to being proved wrong by WotC.  I am LOOKING FORWARD to this new edition, for many reasons.

Because, if nothing else, I am sure I will find something that I can cherry pick out of upcoming play test or the rules whenever they come out, and incorporate them into my games.

And, I think I can add another writing project to my ever expanding list.  To write down my own house rules.  COMPLETE LIST, not hey that is a neat rule, hey that is cool.  Then, forget them six months down the line.  I know that is going to take a great deal of time because of all of the different games that I play.  It is something to think about.

Thank you for reading the post, I will be back, hopefully before next month.