Multiclassed to oblivion

Another post in my series on how to build characters that will actually help the party. This advice comes from a very common character type that I could not stand at all. The overly-heavily multiclassed character. Multiclassing is a great way to meld the attributes of two classes: For a barbarian to take some sorcerer levels to magically enhance themselves, or a fighter that wants to flip out like a barbarian every so often.

However, it is an even better way to water down your character to the point of uselessness. Sure, there are lots of multiclass characters that can do a bit of everything, but do first level spells really do much of anything at 1oth level? If you have more HP then your average rogue, but can only take one more hit then a normal rogue, and you are far less skilled then a normal rogue, are you really an asset to the party?

I once played at a table with a Fighter 2/Wizard 2/Cleric 2. That’s right, he wasn’t very good in a fight due to only having a BAB of 3 (half that of a fighter), he had few HP, and could only cast 1st level spells due to splitting his abilities so many ways. Sure, as a character in a book he sounds awesome, since he can do so many things, but as an asset to the party? A straight fighter, or a cleric, or a wizard with an attack bonus high enough to hit monsters, 3rd level spells and so on would have been far more useful.

Remember; your most previous resource in combat is often time. There are never enough rounds to cast all the spells you want, and fighters can always use more attacks. When you build a character think about this: You are walking along a hallway, you run into a group of orcs: When do you do? A fighter will hit something: The cleric buffs the fighter, the wizard casts a spell, the rogue tries to flank of slip into the shadows or something (Can you tell which class I never play?). Or for the more epically inclined of you, what do you do when you when you burst into the throne room of the evil wizard-king moments before he completes his ritual to destroy the world? The base class person knows what to do: The multiclass person doesn’t. Do you cast a first level spell at them? Do you charge into battle and go squish? What can he actually do to HELP the party? (Not much).

I’m using D&D terminology here, but this can also happen even more easily in point-buy games. It is very temping to grab skills willy-nilly all over the place, and stock up on cool advantages and whatnot. However, you should sit back and go “How will I help the party?”. Most of my examples are from combat, but it doesn’t have to be: One of my old GURPS characters Dalton had a special ability that let him see the past of items (Very useful in an investigative game), some combat skills, and more antiquities skills. Which, in an occult investigation game, was quite useful. In that game, that ability was usually worth more then another bruiser. I had a very fixed idea of how I wanted him to help the party when I built him, I didn’t just randomly pick skills out of the book.

So, when making a character and thinking of doing some multi-class combination think: How will this play in combat. Will my abilities help the party out? Am I worth taking over a fighter, wizard, cleric or rogue, or am I going to be a drag on the party? Also remember; Bards at least have charisma, skills and bard song. If you can’t match that, just play the freaking class they built into the game.

Well, so much for this series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and that I’ve made you think about making characters in a slightly different way.

Until I think of something else to write about, stay geeky.
—Canageek
 

Published in: on May 20, 2013 at 9:12 am  Comments (8)  
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Who are you? Part I: Classes Down Below

Continuing on with my Gygaxian Dungeon Crawling setting: Who are you?

I am not quite happy with this post, it feels bland to me, but I have spent so much time fiddling with it I just want it up so I can move on.

The first group of players would all be human obviously, however as the players meet other groups and form alliances new race options would open up. This would be a good way to add material to the campaign without the problem of new races suddenly appearing and everyone pretending they where there all along. Lessons learned from returned scrolls or mentors met could open up new classes or feats.

So how do the different classes fit into this setting?

Barbarians: I can’t see the military using berserkers, however allies made in the dungeons would fit into this very well. So to access the class the players have to ally with a barbarian tribe.

Bard: Again, I can’t see the military sending in these right off, however music has been used to inspire soldiers since the time of the ancient Greeks, so I could see them jumping on this once introduced to it. Again, something that the players will have to ‘unlock’. Now once they are introduced I could see some cool modern takes on them with military pipers and such. Heck, how awesome would it be for a bard to be screaming out AC/DC to inspire the troops?

A  cleric hauling a wounded solider off the battlefield, his reflection  showing wings

I see a cleric

Clerics: While the obvious route would be to make them the military Chaplains that brings real world religion into it,and what to do about different religions, and does a Baptist get different domains then a Catholic, and what about Islam, Judaism and the thousand other religions?
I remembered this poster  that just screams cleric to me. So I talked to a former US military cleric & gamer and he supported the idea  He is giving them the full PHB style write-up so I’m not going into it heavily here.
Essentially when a medic truly believes he or she is doing the right thing they can tape into the odd reality of The Below and gains the powers of the cleric.

Druid: I could see Druids, Bards and Barbarians coming from the same tribe. For the modern take I see hippies or environmentalists along those lines.

Fighter are the easiest. These are soldiers plain and simple. They use weapons to hurt things. If there are guns then they may use them or melee weapons. Which actually makes sense in twisting passages from what I have heard -Especially some of the really tight corridors popular in older dungeons, though probably less so in the wider corridors of 3rd edition and the massive rooms of 4th. Now I’m not a military or gun enthusiast so if someone wants to provide me with some information on this I’d be grateful. I’ve heard from some people that guns are better in pretty much all situations if properly used, citing SWAT as an example, whereas I’ve heard from others the opposite: I think it is a half-decent explanation, especially when you consider that we’ve established that firearms are less powerful Down Below.
Now in 4e fighters have a specific role as melee characters that tie up opponents and protect them from getting to the squishies. This works very well with the idea that the soldiers are guarding scientists.

Monks: I don’t like Monks, and I have no idea why someone would pick martial arts over weapons when fighting a dragon.

Paladin: When a solider truly believes they are doing the right thing to save the world by going Down Below they gain the powers of the Paladin.

Ranger: Doesn’t this just scream Special Forces? I remember reading about those military guys who train to live off the wild, track anything, etc.
In 4e Rangers gain the ability to do ridiculous amounts of damage with a bow. This could be very easily substituted for a firearm since 4e weapons don’t pay attention to realistic amounts of damage anyway.

Rogue: This brings to mind groups like the SAS who focus on stealth and infiltration. Pretty easy to add in.

Sorcerers on the other hand don’t need these items, they just have learned how to reach out and grasp the energies.

Wizards: I see these as scientists who have learned to manipulate the energies of The Below through the use of various instruments and technology. Instead of silly material components they use various machines & instruments.

Warlords: This is your stereotypical warmovie ‘Sarge’ leading the troops by example, inspiring them to greater effort.

Warlocks: Down below is hard to survive, and some are willing to risk there souls to survive it. Sometimes you meet powerful creatures, or find old books, and the temptation of gaining more powerful abilities that will help you and your friends survive can be to great to resist. Once the rituals are learned they are passed from solider to solider. This development greatly worries command however Warlocks are currently considered too useful to lock up.

The Wyzard’s XCrawl posts: The Players [Part B]

I’d like to thank The Wyzard for allowing me to post all of this, its gotten me back into the habit of writing here again. I’ve marked my comments in blue as always. So without further ado, The Wyzard’s posts on XCrawl. Oh and the creator of XCrawl has posted a comment back on the first post in this series if you want to check it out. This is taken from the Wyzard’s RPG.net thread if you’ve just joined us.

3. The Empire: The NAE created XCrawl under a national charter for one purpose: To keep the populace entertained and distracted. It does that very, very well. It has also turned out to have a variety of other economic (and quasi-military) functions, and it has been turned to the end of social control in a number of other arenas. Potential dissidents, both citizens and inhabitants of NAE-controlled areas of the underdark, are channeled into XCrawl. There, they can safely be turned into being more supportive of the establishment by buying into it, or maybe you get lucky and they die. Hey, accidents happen. The official rules of XCrawl are set up by a Senate subcommittee, although the Emperor himself is occasionally involved. His consultations are taken, of course, very seriously. They also take testimony and suggestions from Referees, DJs, and the occasional Adventurer, if it’s deemed appropriate. Or if they just want a chance to invite him to their kid’s birthday party. He *idolizes* them, you see, and it’d mean a lot to the family…

The gist of this is: There are people in the political sphere who want to keep their finger buried deep in the pie. They don’t do this for fun, they do this because they have an agenda. If a politician has expended resources in making a team or a DJ into his highly-placed pawn, you can hurt him by cutting that finger off.

The only problem I see with this is that I’m my experience players that love long dungeon crawls will be bored with Machevialian politics and vis versa. That was one of my big complaints about the xcrawl books actually, too much time on the world not enough on xcrawl itself. I’d be more interested in the local politics of the arena and the bookies and whatnot myself, but could see this working. I do want some non-combat stuff to break up the crawls as I get bored after 40 min or so of combat or a couple hours without roleplay. I want to do some long crawls like XCrawl but am still looking for a way to do so. I will keep your ideas in mind if I ever actually run this.


4. The Refs
: The Refs are, undoubtedly, the cleanest part of the whole XCrawl machine. They must avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. They make sure that the rules are enforced. However, XCrawl being a game of high complexity and constant innovation, they also have many discretionary powers. They make sure that a dungeon and the tactics used in it are “fair,” and appropriate to the level at which the competition is rated for (Sure, “level” as in the 1-30 number the PCs are at isn’t an in-game concept, but there are relative levels of badassery, and we assume that there are people in the game-world whose business it is to judge those and make decisions based on them.) They can declare Adventurers or the DJ to be out of line, they can assess penalties, etc. They are almost always Lawful personalities, and their organization is rigorously self-policing.

However, they are allowed to play favorites, just a little bit. That’s what discretion means, after all. If a monster gets loose and the PCs risk injury or loss of points to save audience members, guess what? Refs remember that. What goes around comes around. Does a DJ pull a fast one and use a last-minute switchup designed to screw the party? Sometimes that’s fair, sometimes it’s bad for the game. The Ref may not do anything about it, but then again maybe they mark it down in the ledger for later. Oh yeah, and the Refs talk to each other. It is possible for an Adventurer, a party, or a DJ to get on the bad side of the Refs as a whole, and then hoo-boy look out. Referees answer to the organization as a whole. And they watch the games. If there is too much blatant favoritism, they’ll teleport a guy out there and jerk the acting referee during a commercial break. It happens every now and again. Or maybe it doesn’t. Your call.

So we are talking Hockey refs here, not football (By which I mean Soccer). That might be an interesting variant where the DJs are not unbiased and the rules are very fast & loose. No, I’m not referencing that Irish/French game at ALLLLL…. (actually I don’t follow soccer but it made the news and came to mind reading this). Carrying on with this idea it would be an interesting change if there were very few rules in XCrawl but a lot of traditions. For example in soccer there is no rule that play stops when someone is injured but it is tradition to kick the ball out of bounds. A player or DJ could get a nasty reputation for breaking these traditions just a little. A rift forms in the fans who love the blood this creates and the traditionalists who long for the old clean days.

5. The Sponsors: XCrawl is money. Big money. The pay-per-view guys make a fortune, the networks make a fortune, the merchandisers make a fortune, the cities that host the crawls make a fortune, the monster-wranglers and summoners and so forth make fortunes, even the guys that design traps and summon the cameras can make tidy sums. The people who are just in it for the money come under the wide umbrella of sponsors. Sure, NBC and Budweiser don’t exactly have the same interests, but they’re in the same bed together enough that I’m going to put them all here. What you need to know is this:

Cities like to have either their own pro team, have arenas that host XCrawl events, or preferably several of the former and at least one of the latter. NYC has an official XCrawl team for each one of the Five Boroughs, and a dozen more that just happen to be from/based in the area. They compete for this, and they can generally provide you with lots of lovely little amenities, like tax breaks and speaking engagements and God knows what. (This umbrella-group can include the Mayor, city councilpeople, aldermen, major organized crime figures, philanthropists, really rich people who just love the city, and any other local figures you can imagine. They can offer some pretty nice inducements.)

I found this one of the least realistic parts of XCrawl: Not enough corporate involvement. Crawls wouldn’t be named after cities anymore then sports arenas are. Look at the names: The Air Canada Center, The Rodgers Center (nee Skydome), I think there is one named after Bell now….

You’d have the Labatte Blue crawl, the Ford crawl, the Air Canada skycrawl (everything takes place on a giant cargo jet), the FedEx Crawl (Revolves around safely moving a package from point A to B…..by 8am the next morning with no damage), and so on.

The Temples like to have their God represented. Maybe prominently. But only by winners. They tend to encourage their young, attractive, martially-inclined clerics to join XCrawl teams and represent. They really like it if they can get XCrawlers to be seen in their temples, wear their holy symbols, and talk to kids about how they must venerate the gods to lead a virtuous life.

Broadcasters, whether major networks or Pay-Per-View, want to have a really badass Crawl, so that lots of people will watch it and they can charge enormous fees from advertisers. There is frequently some consternation on their part when the people who would like to buy advertising time become upset that the teams are sponsored by (and wearing the logos of) their competitors.

Direct Sponsors pay you to drink their sports drink during short rests, or wear their shoes, or put their logo on your armor, or whatever. DJs and Broadcasters consider them a pain in the ass, but haven’t so far been able to do much about it, since they don’t have the right to control the Adventurers that much. They lobby, though.

Yeah, have a look at TV: How much do you think Coke pays American Idol to have the judges drinking coke every episode? I respected Mythbusters for a long time in that they covered the labels on every product they used but even they are now shelling for some car company. Think about the opportunities in XCrawl. All the furniture in the break rooms is from either Ikea or Idomo.
Next Post: Factions!

To date this is the last post he has written which means that I have to start writing my own posts again. I googled around and bumped into this review which is a nice summery of the good bits, however I find it is not critical enough of the poorer bits (The number of pages spent on background to the world & the lack of examples of the crawl).  Oh, I may do a review myself as I saw the total line of XCrawl books on Pazio for huge discounts and bought the whole line. However I will not be getting it till Feb due to having to ship it to a friends due to the fact I’m moving & don’t want it going to the wrong place. Anyway, I’d like to here other peoples opinions & ideas, either here or in the original thread.

His post giving permission:

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The Wyzard's Avatar The Wyzard
Re: Do you mind if I mirror your posts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canageek
I’ve been doing a blog series on televised dungeon crawling: It’s not XCrawl, but its in the same genre. I’m going to link to your posts at http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?p=9795841 but was wondering if I could mirror them? RPG.NET has been known to lose threads from time to time and if I run a game I’d definitely be referencing your posts when explaining the world to people. I’m NOT a high traffic blog, its just a personal indulgence of mine, but I’d be willing to link to any blog or website you have in exchange for the privilege
I’d like credit and a link back to the thread in any post mirroring it, obviously, but as far as I’m concerned you can go to town.
I’d also like a link to your blog, in case there’s any interesting discussion. Get some interest, and I might even go back to working on the idea in-thread.

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The Wyzard’s XCrawl posts: The Players [Part A]

Ok, time for the 3rd post in my series of posts where I get The Wyzard to do all the work and just add commentary. This is the start of his final post in the original thread, however due to the length of it with my comments (Over 6 pages) I have split it into several parts. If you think this is too long (or that I should have left it as one post) let me know.

Re: It’s time for the big XCrawl/4E conversion thread

Okay, I’m going to vastly expand on my ideas in the above post, because it doesn’t really seem to follow from anything, and I need to fix that. XCrawl is a funny beast. It’s both a cultural phenomenon and also a massively useful political tool, and also a source of people who are extremely dangerous on a personal level. There are guys in XCrawl who can through personal force of arms take down dozens of normal soldiers. A party of them could spearhead a small military coup.

So, a lot of people are interested in it, and a lot of people want to have influence over it. For that reason, I’m going to go into a typology of the players in the XCrawl world, which hopefully will be inspirational to you.

XCrawl: The Players

1. Adventuring Teams: Also known as parties, or athletes. These are the PCs. Each team has a name, must be registered, may have an agent or a publicist, etc. They may have endorsement deals or sponsors, they may parley their success into non-XCrawl jobs such as shilling cream cheese and canned soup, or more…exciting work. Low-level XCrawlers will probably have to have real jobs, and for them XCrawl is mostly just a ridiculously dangerous hobby. High-level teams May well make enough money from their winnings and endorsements that they can just train or do whatever in the off-season. XCrawl adventuring teams can often end up with personal animosity (rather than merely professional opposition) toward the DJs.

I’d also be interested in seeing adventurers getting involved with politics like Ken Dryden that ran for the liberal party leadership. Xcrawlers are also probably like movie starts are look at all the stuff they get mixed up in. Tom Cruise? Arnold Schwarzenegger aka The Govonator? That NRA guy? Charlton Heston? Chuck Norris using Chuck Norris Facts to help a friend’s political campaign?

2. The DJs: These are the opposite sides of the coin from the Adventurers. To become a DJ requires a lot of things. You have to have both a carefully crafted public persona to display to the fans and media types. You have to be quick-witted and able to improvise on the fly. You have to have an artistic directorial sense, to make sure your crawls are something people want to see. You have to be a broadly capable administrator, able to handle everything from monsters going rogue and eating the audience, to making sure monsters don’t go rogue, to dealing with unions and teamsters and logistics and the financial end of running a crawl.

DJs have to be able to design a satisfyingly watchable and appropriately dangerous dungeon that will pass Referee inspection, get prize support and sponsorships, get a “slot” for it to fit into, cut deals with broadcasters and/or pay-per-view, stock the dungeon with monsters and traps (which is infinitely more complex than it sounds, with ritualists, wranglers, and others required), and…the list just keeps on going. Oh yeah, and you have to build a personal rapport with a fanbase, so that the networks and sponsors consider you to be a draw.

And then the Adventurers come in and wreck your shit, and you have to pay them for the privilege of killing off your expensive monsters and blowing your traps to smithereens (There was a way to disarm that! All they had to do was go up and solve the little puzzle and it would have stopped shooting at them! Now you have to buy another one, and it was expensive!) Fortunately, you are allowed to (try to) kill them. To some extent, it’s even good for your rep.

Man, I would have rather had more pages of stuff like this then all that background on the world before the historical collapse of everything. Again DJs are one of the best ideas in XCrawl and they are rather original and distinctive, so I didn’t feel comfortable stealing them for my setting. Make sure to play these guys up. Each one should have a distinctive style and personality. I don’t mean dramatic themes all undead, all the time for DJ Necropolis (though that is an option) but things like one DJ doing historical themes (The tower of London, The pyramids, the French Resistance during WWII), another likeing placing his crawls on converted ships. You can vary things up stylistically: One DJ might like a crude feel for his crawls, all cinderblock, sheet metal and plywood. Like a paintball arena but more solidly built. Another would make his dungeons with as little modern technology as possible so that it exactly resembles something out of D&D. This is one of the aspects I’d like about XCrawl is you can have each dungeon totally different without any justification needed. No I don’t like that just because I can steal maps & dungeons from lots of different games…though it is an upside. I should write up my Televised Dungeon Crawling setting for SF so I can have space stations, underwater complexes, Warhammer 40K style hulks on which the XCrawlers are dropped on one part and must simply survive and get to the ship waiting to pick them up. The sky is the limit: Push it.

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The Wyzard's Avatar The Wyzard
Re: Do you mind if I mirror your posts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canageek
I’ve been doing a blog series on televised dungeon crawling: It’s not XCrawl, but its in the same genre. I’m going to link to your posts at http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?p=9795841 but was wondering if I could mirror them? RPG.NET has been known to lose threads from time to time and if I run a game I’d definitely be referencing your posts when explaining the world to people. I’m NOT a high traffic blog, its just a personal indulgence of mine, but I’d be willing to link to any blog or website you have in exchange for the privilege
I’d like credit and a link back to the thread in any post mirroring it, obviously, but as far as I’m concerned you can go to town.
I’d also like a link to your blog, in case there’s any interesting discussion. Get some interest, and I might even go back to working on the idea in-thread.

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Sorry it took so long to get this up, I was bogged down in exams. The next part shouldn’t take QUITE so long.

Anyway until next time: Stay Geeky!

Televised Dungeon Crawling: The Introduction

I’ve been batting around this idea for a campaign for a while now, but due to lack of players and time, I don’t think its going to happen in the near future. As such, I’m going to write it up here and get some feedback and whatnot. I have stolen from a number of sources, most obviously a rather bad book by the name of: XCrawl: Adventures in the Extreme Dungeon Crawl League, followed by the gladiatorial games of the Roman Empire and some Dragon magazine articles.

Basic concept: Brave adventures explore artificial dungeons stocked with deadly traps and monsters for the amusement of a televised audience.

Edit: It seems some people don’t get this concept: You play a character in a modern setting who goes into dungeons for money or fame or whatever and all the while your exploits are broadcast out to millions of viewers. Have you seen the trailer for Death Race (Or even the movie?) Like that but based on D&D instead of Autoduel. Your modern day Gladiators, who may or may not survive each entry into the dungeon. When you hack a troll apart millions cheer, and if the troll eats you…well, your family might get royalties when they release the DVD of your adventures.

Right, so the same concept of XCrawl, –I did say I was stealing from it. However, I’m not going to put a zillion pages of useless background into this post, as XCrawl did. I also have a couple different ideas on how to implement this idea, something XCrawl only gave a passing nod too. Honestly, I don’t think the XCrawl book is work buying as it spends most of its pages on a world setting and very few on actual rules and ideas for dungeon crawling. It does have some good ideas (A dungeon scoring system, mojo points, Dungeon Jockeys) which I’ll leave for you to uncover, but really, I think someone was being paid by the page…which is why they outlined an entire setting…then destroyed it and rebuilt it, with the original setting conveyed through a magic sword. Anyway, here is what I think you can do with the same basic idea.

These dungeons could be straight out of D&D with stone walls & torches or they could be plywood and spraypaint. They could be a converted office building that’s still furnished so you have kobolds hiding in cubical farms. The important part is you have modern day people risking their necks in a dungeon as fans watch it on pay-per-view. I’ll outline various ways of doing this in subsequent posts. I’m not sure what else to say about this without going into implementations, so I will leave this here for now.

It should be noted this is different from the as of yet unnamed ‘My Work/Nova’s World’ setting I detailed previously.

In this first post I will outline a dark form of this setting, and latter on I will write up a lighter interpretation. I’m also thinking of a version of them closer to a Gladiatorial type event. I might even backport this to a Roman fantasy style setting. Anyway, as always comments are both welcome and appreciated, and until next time Stay Geeky!

–Canageek

P.S. I just realized I forgot my tagline on my last two posts! *sigh*

Edit: Added a better description based on @ExplodingDragon’s comments on twitter.

An Introduction to My Campaign Setting

When I run games I usually use published adventures. As times go on I’m finding I’m modifying them more and more both stat wise (4e is really helping with this as encounter design is simpler)  and to involve the players. Example: I’ve rewritten large parts of H1: Keep on the Shadowfell as I run it online.

I wanted a world so characters could have constant backgrounds, but I didn’t want to deal with having to adapt adventures, have players know far more about the world then me, or have the setting book give away all the secrets creating a huge PC knowledge/Play knowledge gap. So I’ve been writing up a loose little world. Its not got much more then a couple nations and geography, but it lets me know where the swamps and jungles and such are. I don’t really have any sense of scale either. The biggest thing I’m lacking is….a name. I can’t think up a name for my setting. If anyone wants to help out with that I’d be very grateful. I labelled it Nova’s World for now after my original screen name (Novamaster, which was shortened to Nova when I felt that was pretentious.) but that feels weak.

Here is the introduction I wrote for the first post of my current game:

The empire of Nerath is falling. In the north the Empire is still strong, true, but it is embroiled with a war, with the loyal Imperial forces fighting the rebellion. Both sides have been locked in war for at least a hundred years, the stalemate doing little but draining each. At sea the island colonies lie abandoned, and to the north, past the rebel forces, the barbarian tribes once more reign supreme. The southlands lie mostly peaceful but they have not seen a tax collector or imperial patrol in generations, and even there trouble brews. The southern jungle advances more each year, long dormant evils stir in forgotten crypts and the distances between the towns grows. But all is not lost for bold hero’s such as yourselves, forged in the fires of the war to the north, or born in some other fashion, stride the land.

The empire of Nerath is falling, but civilization need not fall with it.

OOCThis is the ‘default’ background and players are encouraged to work elements of it into there histories:
Most of you are ex-soldier from the north, joined up for your four years for adventure, for the money, to take a burden off a family after a bad harvest. For the past for years the army has fed you, clothed you and housed you. Now its over. Your term expired and you choose not to reenlist for whatever reason. Aimless you have drifted southwards, longing for peace after four years of battle. However, things have not been going so well, and you find your payout money growing a little thin.

I added a bit more latter:

The known world is circular, with water filling the center and around it (Think of a crater or volcano rim, except much much more massive) The eastern 2 thirds are a series of islands and archipelegos, the wastern third a continent.

This continent is the shape of the crescent moon. The the north are the icy wasts, south of that the lands controlled by the rebellion. At the end of the rebellions terrortory lies no mans land. A long thin strip of land with swamps at the top and mouthains at the bottom, it is were Nerest and the Rebellions armies have clashed for close to 100 years. South of the lies the noble Empire of Nerest. As one travles south one finds oneself in lands that consider themselves members of the empire but have not seen a tax collector in a generation or more. (Read wheel of time? The first one? Rands hometown? Yeah, that) Finally there are the southern jungles. Filled with strange animals and beasts, and slowly expanding northwards the southern jungles are a place of mystery.

The simplest explanation for adventueres wandering the land, is as I’ve stated in the game thread, many youths go north, join the army for 4 years , fight against the undead and demons of the rebellion and then find they no longer feel at home in there home villages. However this is not the only path, as there are many ways to take up the sword or staff. From questing for lost artifacts, to wanting to see the world, many wind up on the roads.

I need to add some names for the jungles and mountain ranges and such I know, I just can’t seem to think up names I like (suggestions will be appreciated) As you probably guessed from reading that I’ve placed the locations outlined in the 4e DMG & H1 in the southlands. The map looked a lot like what I wanted the southlands too anyway so it worked.

Earlier this year I wrote out a whole bunch of stuff, including how each 4e race and class might fit into the world and a bunch of other things. Then I went and lost that notebook. So while I was at a chemistry confrence I rewrote out some things (I’m an undergrad, there were a number of time the talk went right over my head. Heck, the prof I was there with told me during a couple talks the speaker lost him) and connected them to the default 4e D&D setting so I could easily use those adventures. As a note they say copywrite me on it, that obviously does not include the Wizards IP, and I don’t mean to imply it does. I just didn’t realize that till after I scanned it and don’t want to have to use an image editor to fix it on each image. If WoTC complains I’ll fix it. Also if I compile it I’ll take all the stuff they own out and make it Creative Commons.

It uses the default gods of whatever I’m running, probably either the Greyhawk gods (Well, the 3e ones with St. Cuthbert LG as he should be) or the 4e gods. I figured instead of a whole bunch of different nations I’d have a dukedoms and baronies and such, probably because thats the impression I got reading old D&D adventures and whatnot.

Sorry the writing is so bad, I was writing on a bad surface while listening with one ear for when I could understand things again. Also I have a small writing disability, though this is the most illegible thing I’ve written in a number of years.

I also outlined things on IRL with someone I met on at  irc://irc.otherworlders.org:6667/ #enworld. (Or over HTML if you don’t have a IRC client handy) the spelling is terrible as well, I wasn’t paying any attention to it.

<gruegirl> could you give me the basics of the setting
<Canageek> Its pretty basic as it doesn’t effect the mod much
<Canageek> The known world is in a rouge hourglass/cresent moon type shape
<gruegirl> who’s in power around where we start?
<Canageek> The far south is mostly apandoned jungel, with runs and such in it from before people migrated north
<Canageek> in the mid south is farland that aside from goblis and cluts and such is mostly peaceful
<Canageek> now the  army is in the north so you don’t want to travel alone unless your reasonbly well armed and know how to use your weapons as most bandits will leave you alone then
<Canageek> caravans are the primary method of travel and communication
<gruegirl> which army?
<Canageek> The far north is an icy wastland filled with barbarian tribess –yes I know how cliche that is
<Canageek> There are two large nations: The Alliance and the Empire
<Canageek> The Alliance is a leage of Necromancers and Diabolits that rule the nroth between the Icy wasts and the Narrows  – The thin part of the hour glass
<Canageek> the Alliance nominally controls all of the souther half, but in reality they only activally control the top 1/3 or so
<Canageek> They are a mostly benelovent empre composed of variuse dutchies and fifedoms
<Canageek> the futher south you get the weaker the control gets though most of the people pay at least lip service to the monarch
<Canageek> thats about all I have as I’ve never had enough people intersted in a gamme long enough to find out the details
<gruegirl> k
<Canageek> OH, and theres some mountain ranges and things but thats not really important right now
<Canageek> I’m ravamping the setting to have some elemetns from Ebberon in it as well as some 4e stuff
<gruegirl> k
<Canageek> For now it doesn’t really matter as I’m running KotS and it all takes place in a small area
<Canageek> in the southland
<Canageek> I’m thinking the Alliance has elements of the Teifling Empre in it
<Canageek> and a number of Dragonborn famiies are promoint in the Empires ranks
<gruegirl> I’ll be a Teifling jungle girl, what roles are in the party right now?
[...]
<Canageek> Ok, you mind if i post part of the convo to give info on the world setting?
<gruegirl> no prob

So thats what I have so far. If I ever find my old notebook I’ll scan those pages, or I’ll type up more. I’ll probably write more posts on my world in future as I’ve got a lot of stuff in my head that just needs to be set down. I wanted to compile everything I had in one place as a way of starting off however. So, what does everyone think? Is it a lame mesh of cliche’s and horribly overdone tropes? Or does it look like a fun place to play?

Help Me Find A New Game

So I’m having a bit of a problem. My friend Drew does not like 4e. I no longer like 3.X. We both like Call of Cthulhu and I’m still running that game, but Evan, the other core player isn’t able to attend much for personal reasons. Therefore I’d like to have a second game on the go, so I’d like to find one we can both enjoy.

General requirements: Neither of us like overly complicated rules like GURPS or Aces and Eights. Conversely Feng Shui & Wuxia are too rules light. This would be a casual game & we’ll probably have people dropping in and out each session so the rules should be easy to pick up & characters easy (and fast) to generate. Having a sample adventure is a must, so I can see how its supposed to work.

Games I can remember playing:
-Played a game of Dark*Matter using the Alternity rules & premade characters: Liked the system, but characters seem a bit hard to roll up

-I really like the tactical nature of 4e, whereas Drew hates it. As I’ll be DMing this is a more minor point for me: I have enough to do I don’t get bored like I do when I’m playing.

-Drew really likes the abstract nature of White Wolf games, whereas I hate that. Also Drew likes the freedom & flexibility of those games whereas I want more definition in what my limits are. Now I am biased against WW games due to a VERY poorly run Vampire the Masqrade game where the storyteller had the only copy of the books and ran a number of the rules wrong. Also it turns out I was only invited as I had dice, so I couldn’t do anything, even what other characters with the same skills as I could. This has given me a preference for games with clearly defined rules where I can ‘stand up for my rights’ so to speak.

-I really like systems with premade adventures. I’ve only just started customizing a module in my online 4e game. If its a standard fantasy rpg I’m more cool with this, especially  if its got clear guides on encounter design (see why I like 4e) as I can adapt existing adventures.

-I like the ‘modern’ design 3e started: No silly restrictions (Dwarves can be wizards, no class/level limits), AC goes up, however I’ll certainly look at older games.

I looked at some Retro-clones even though I’m not a fan of oldschool D&D. What bothered me most was the ham-handed attempts to balance the races. I did like the simplicity however, so if anyone knows of a game in that style that does not have stupid racial restrictions on who can be what class, or what class can advance to what level let me know.

Now to throw another twist in it, we have another regular player, Switch, who gets distracted/bored easily. When that happens he gets silly and does a half decent impression of the looney from those old 4 types of role-players lists. However I’ve noticed he gets bored a LOT less in modern games, so that might be preferable. The downside to modern games is they usually don’t have many adventures and are harder to write adventures for. So if anyone has suggestions on this pass them along as well.

So if anyone has suggestions or questions of my needs/requirements leave a comment! One of the reasons I got this blog is so I could have longer & more detailed discussions with people. Well, I’m off. Until next time Stay Geeky!

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Update: I was rushing to get this post done as my battery died so I missed 2 important points:

-One of my other players is sick of horror, and a few others would like a change.

-The game pretty much must be free or have a fast play version of the rules available: I’m not dropping $50 on a game without trying it.

In response to the comments I’ve gotten: SF is certainly Ok, though if you could give me some sort of idea of what type of SF that would be great. Star Trek is very different then say, Keith Laumer’s Bolo or the Warhammer 40K universe.

Published in: on July 26, 2009 at 11:34 am  Comments (17)  
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My Background as a Gamer

If I’m going to talk about gaming I think its important that you know about my background as a gamer.

As a gamer I mainly player D&D. I started with 2nd edition when I was in grade 5 or 6, and moved to 3rd edition when it came out. When I read the PHB it felt like D&D made sense now- no more arbitrary race/class restrictions or maximum levels, I played a small amount of D&D up until 2002 when my father and I joined the Living Greyhawk campaign. We got heavily involved in that and to this day the vast majority of my gaming experience is with Living Greyhawk, and with the end of that campaign I moved to Living Forgotten Realms.

Which, yes, means I’m a 4e supporter (It’s ok, you can put down the flamethrowers…please…). I don’t agree with everything it does, but I’m enjoying it more then 3e when I can find a good adventure. (Adventures should be more then 3 fights and a skill challenge people!)

In the past I’ve also enjoyed playing Call of Cthulhu (CoC), and a game in the Alternity system. I did find that CoC’s combat system was too jagged, and Alternity was overly complex in terms of character creation. Nevertheless I enjoyed both, and am running an ongoing CoC game if I could ever get the  players together.

I’ve played around on Play By Forum (PBF) in a number of systems on www.dndorks.com and find that I enjoy description heavy games when I can take ten minutes to write my response and such—I’m not a improve specialist able to pull perfect prose off the top of my head.

In the past I’ve bought a lot of gaming books, but found I didn’t use the 3.5 ones as I could never trust there balance, and didn’t use the d20 Modern ones because the core game was so unbalanced. I have a number of other books and such that I never got around to funning or resting so I’ve been cutting back on my purchases: So far in 4e all I have is: 3 core books, PHBII and Arcane power. Oh…and a DDi subscription. What I do like purchasing is adventures as I don’t have a talent for writing them, and I’m likeing the new Dungeon magazine for that: The old Dungeon mods I played never felt very good to me, though that could just be bad examples.

I’m currently running a game of 4e at dndorks with some more information at in another thread . I’m currently full on players but I’ll be sure to advertise openings here. However my digital paramour, Ada, is recruiting a serenity game and I’d like to point you all in her direction.

As I’ve mentioned it, I’d like to point you all at www.dndorks.com It was one of the first gaming webcomics, and while its kinda been wandering around for a bit its forums are an excellent place to run games. I joined it far to many years ago (the date it says in the forums is a lie) so don’t look at my early posts….I was just finishing grade 9 at the time. Annnyyyway there is an amazing silverlight mapping tool  I’m using now and they keep adding more PBP/PBF features so if your thinking of running a game online I encourage you to check it out.

Anyway, that’s my gaming past. I think I’ll write about my views on the different editions of D&D at another time. See you later my friends, and until then, Stay Geeky!

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