August 1

D&D Starter Set

Recently I’ve been on holiday and one of my friends expressed a desire to play D&D; this was something he had never done but always wanted to try, so I agreed to run it for him.

I thought this would also be a good opportunity to try out the new D&D Starter set that had been released by Wizards of the Coast, partly because I was curious to see what the new version was like and I wanted to see how it introduced new players to the hobby.  In all my years of being a GM, I’d never had to break in a group, all the people I had gamed with had prior experience.

In anticipation of getting the game going, I sent links to the new rules on the Wizards website a couple of weeks beforehand and I also ordered the new starter set.

Inside the box.

Upon unboxing the set I was struck by the contents; which was one rulebook, one adventure, pre-generated characters and a set of dice.  This reminded me of the red box D&D set I had got for Christmas one year; the included dice were pre-inked, unlike the red box dice which had I coloured in with a white crayon.

I glanced at the rules and dove into the adventure; Lost Mine of Phandelver, which is a massive improvement on the old B2 Keep on the Borderlands adventure.  I also thought the pre-generated characters where nicely done and the backgrounds tied them to the adventure.

The Rules.

Reading the rules booklet gave me a flavour of the new 5th edition rules and I certainly liked what I saw.  There have been fundamental changes to the system; the concepts of advantage and disadvantage are not new ones but I think they are a major improvement over what has gone before.  I also appreciated the changes made to the magic using classes, you prepare your spells and then you use spell slots to cast them.  This really does give you a lot of flexibility as spells become more potent if you use higher powered spell slots to cast lower level spells, although doing it this way means that spells no longer increase with power as the caster does.  A first level Magic Missile will always give the same number of magical bolts if cast with a first level spell slot.

The designers used some of the 4E elements here, where you can take a short rest or long rest; long rests get you all healed up and takes some of the burden of not having someone who can heal the party.

The Characters.

Trying to get an existing gaming group on-board using pre-generated characters can be a time consuming process, a new gaming group is far more likely to welcome the chance to play something already done since it takes all the work out of the character creation game.

The five provided are good examples of the archetypes which first appeared in D&D 3, when the iconic characters first appeared.  Each character also has a reason for being there and an interesting background as well.

With characters selected, a brief explanation of what the players needed to know to get started, I kicked off by asking each of them to explain why they were working for the patron.

The Adventure.

Is pretty good, with a nice mixture of sandbox play and set-pieces as well, I had to find a good description of some of the monsters as saying it’s a goblin wouldn’t mean much to the new players.  It also meant I good embellish the descriptions a little 🙂

After five hours or so of play we packed up and I put all the characters into the box for another day.


If I didn’t have so much Pathfinder materiel I may be tempted to go down the 5th edition route and use some of the older material I have with the rules.


D&D Starter Set Fantasy Roleplaying Tabletop Game

The official page of D&D5 complete with links to the downloadable rulebooks.


Dungeons and Dragons 5E: A Dozen Resources to Get You Started:

A very useful collection of resources for the game.



Category: fantasy | LEAVE A COMMENT
July 31

Kickstarter – Hoard The Spoils

An open D6 Role-Playing Game system which gives more creative control to both players and game masters removing the need for 3 guides.


This does look somewhat interesting, as someone who has been looking at games that let players to further the storyline this could be interesting.


Category: fantasy, RPG | LEAVE A COMMENT
July 30

Catalogue update #7

After some more wrangling with Calibre and Book Collector I have managed to come to working arrangement; rather than trying to follow the advice given to me by the Book Collector technical support team I’m having much more success using Calibre’s create a catalogue file of my selected gaming eBooks as a csv file and then importing that into Book Collector.

I have taken the steps of exporting my library as a .mobi file which I sent to my Kindle and this has far more information than I could get into Book Collector without spending a serious amount of time making it work.  Using Calibre’s tag function you can create quite the hyperlinked and cross referenced document.

With any luck this will be my final entry on sorting my catalogue out and making it available to my players.

It’s also worth mentioning that adding the Search The Internet and Goodreads plug-ins are worth adding to Calibre as well to expand the meta-data search functionality.

July 27

Happy Birthday Gary Gygax

Today is the birthday of Gary Gygax, regarded by some as the father of gaming and I do respect what he did for the hobby.  Some of his work is excellent AD&D for example, other examples less so like Cyborg Commando.

Without his effort and prolific writing I wonder how long it would have taken for the hobby to emerge?

If you want a good read about how the gaming industry when he was a creative powerhouse, then I would suggest you grab a copy of Designers & Dragons and see the influence he had.

July 4

Catalogue update #6

It has been a while since I wrote about my struggle to catalogue my gaming pdfs mainly because for each breakthrough I make, another two setbacks present themselves.

I found a useful plug-in for Calibre that is able to extract the ISBN from an ebook and then I have been trying to use the Download Meta-data function look the information up on a number of book sites.

Where I’m having problems is the ISBN can often refer to another book as either the publisher has entered the wrong one or recycled an old one.

The latest struggle has come about in trying to export from Calibre into Book Collector, something that isn’t easy to do as all Book Collector wants to do is use ISBN, Publisher and Author and not the other summary data.

So I find myself stuck again, not quite at square one but getting closer to it; I suspect I need to roll a 6 to get the game started again.

Why am I bothering?

I’m doing this so I can share my gaming collection with my friends so they have an idea of books in my library using Book Collector’s cloud library and also to take advantage of Book Collector’s loan facility something that Calibre doesn’t have.  If I wasn’t going to use either of these functions I would have kept everything in Calibre and managed it that way.


June 25

Kickstarter – Undying

It has been a long time since I played a vampire themed game; I think the last time was when my character ended up being screwed over by his ghoul in an old game of Vampire the Masquerade back in the 90s.

Perhaps vampire games are in vogue once more?

Category: horror, RPG | LEAVE A COMMENT