April 26

30 Day D&D Challenge – Day 4

Favourite Gameworld

The Forgotten Realms is by far my favourite because of the amount of detail that has been lavished upon it.

I remember seeing all the adverts in the comics I used to read advertising this wonderful new land to explore and play in.  It was my friends who first got me interested in the realms as they were reading the novels and I thought it sounded a pretty neat place to run adventures in.

I remember that I was overcome with joy when I finally got the original grey box edition and poured over the books inside, it left me feeling ecstatic and determined even more to use this world for my campaigns.  After that I bought each book I could and devoured the realms lore contained within; each volume adding more layers of detail that could be peeled back and digested at will.  For the hard to get stuff I tracked down the miniature reprint editions and did my best to read them.  Somewhere I have the Undermountain reprint boxed set signed by Ed Greenwood himself.

I really liked the Volo’s guides as they were written as a travel guide so I could hand that volume to my players and they could get a taste of what the area covered was like.

I even managed to get hold of the Forgotten Realms atlas and the CD-ROM with the Campaign Cartographer maps.  Now I had the ability to print out the areas that the players would visit, going down to the smaller regions for the hamlets.

I was less enthused when the world was updated for 3e as the physical geography changed and so all the lovely maps I had were pretty useless if I wanted to keep using the setting as is for this edition.

For the last campaign I started I went back to Greyhawk as I knew very little about the realm and thought it would be a different change of pace.

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April 25

30 Day D&D Challenge – Day 3

Favourite playable class

I’ve always had a soft spot for the magic using classes, mainly the arcane not the divine wielder.  That’s not to say that I haven’t played clerics or the like but I could never really plan ahead to master the strategy of spell selection.  For the main part the cleric doesn’t get the respect they deserve; if there are no undead to be had then you get treated as a walking healing machine.

For a long time I played wizards, I could understand the spell strategy required and it was easier to select what spells to memorise for each day.  When 3rd edition appeared I was still looking at wizards and the fact you got a familiar to start with.

It wasn’t until a short time later I decided to try the new sorcerer class and I’m glad I did.  I felt that what you sacrificed in additional spells was compensated by the fact you could cast whatever one you needed at the time and the bloodlines gave you more definition of the sorcerers personality.



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April 24

30 Day D&D Challenge – Day 2

Favourite playable race

For me you can’t beat playing a human.  Part of me could see the appeal of all the wonderful races but none of them really appealed to me; that’s not to say I haven’t played other races but I keep being drawn back to the human.

This was before the human was buffed up in 3rd edition or later volumes; once the new game hit the shelves I still played humans as there was more of a balanced reason to do so.

If push comes to shove I do like playing half-elves as I like any race that has some sort of magical aspect to it.

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November 26

You Might Be a Gamer If…

A little gaming related humour from a long time ago.

This list was passed on to me from someone else and the origins of it are lost in the mists of the pre-history of the WWW.

  • losing your dice bag would be a serious financial blow.
  • you could paper your bathroom in character sheets.
  • you could paper your bathroom in different versions of just one character.
  • you are unable to walk past the latest TSR supplement without leafing through it, even though you know it’s going to be bad.
  • you have more entertaining “No-shit,-there-I-was-in-a-game” stories than you do anecdotes about your family.
  • you talk about your characters as if they are real people.
  • you alternate between referring to your characters in the first and the third person.
  • and none of your friends gets confused.
  • you’ve ever spent a significant fraction of your life modifying game rules that you didn’t like… and, as soon as the system worked to your satisfaction, discarded it.
  • when someone says “The blue books,” you don’t automatically picture the kind that they give you during a college final exam.
  • you worship idols of Gary Gygax in your basement.
  • you burn Gary Gygax in effigy in your back yard.
  • you will not buy comic books with the Dragon Strike ™ logo on the back.
  • you’ve ever seen the old AD&D tv series.
  • you’re still reading this list.
  • you hang out with people you actively dislike because they give good role-play.
  • you’ve ever gotten into a screaming match over something that happened in a game… (“You are so dead!” “I am not dead!”)
  • you’ve ever neglected to buy the new edition of your favourite game because you already have three.
  • you have more than one photocopied bootleg of a gaming text.
  • you keep old characters around just in case someone might run that system again. (Never mind that its TS: SI)
  • You knew what I meant when I said TS:SI.
  • you have a PhD in manipulating point systems to the best effect, even though you failed high school geometry.
  • you can consume your body weight in junk food in one gaming session.
  • you consider Altoids, Salt-&-Vinegar chips, and blue Teeni Hugs a balanced diet. (or even an acceptable combination.)
  • you have been known to drive to far away places where you paid enormous amounts of money for the privilege of sleeping on floors, eating crap, buying little pewter statues of Gandalf, and meeting dozens of psychopathic members of the alternate (or similar) sex who will follow you around for months, merely for the pleasure of playing with gamers you don’t know.
  • and then signed up en masse with all of you friends to play in games with game masters who you’ve known since high school.
  • you own your own weight in gaming books.
  • the owners of local hobby stores take your checks without ID because they know where you live.
  • you can do AD&D money conversions in your head.
  • you could wallpaper you bedroom in Dragon Mirths ™.
  • you consider the demise of What’s New With Phil & Dixie a blow to great literature.
  • you consider the resurrection of What’s New With Phil & Dixie the redeeming feature of Magic: The Gathering.
  • you consider the 20th century a state of mind.
  • you have a random NPC generator, written in BASIC, designed to run on the Trash-80 or the Commodore 64.
  • you’ve ever designed your own character sheets.
  • you have ever written software to assist in character creation
  • you have designed spreadsheet models with macros to help manipulate point based systems and Shadowrun.
  • they work!
  • you can be more that three NPCs at the same time without generating more than reasonable confusion in your players.
  • you have ever played a Dwarven character who did not have “axe” or “beard” anywhere in his or her name.
  • you know how to sex dwarves. (chromosome typing- required a blood sample. I’M not getting it…)
  • you’ve ever tried to explain gaming to a school counsellor, parent, or other PW/OC (Person With/Out Clue).
  • you’ve succeeded.
  • you bought Talisman
  • you bought one or more Talisman expansion sets
  • you’ve played Talisman more than once.
  • you’ve finished a game of Talisman.
  • more than once.
  • you’re still reading this list.
  • you can quote extensively from the Wandering Damage Tables.
  • you’ve mistaken a d12 or a double d10 for a d20 while playing AD&D and had a THAC0 low enough to hit the 8HD monster, anyway…
  • you understood that.
  • you carry AD&D insurance.
  • your AC is so low that even you can’t hit yourself.
  • an 87 point Balrog is no big thrill anymore.
  • you bring your dicebag even to diceless roleplaying events.
  • you’ve ever discovered, after gaming with your significant other, that you like their character better than you do them.
  • you have friends or acquaintances who regularly refer to you as “Og.” (Or something similar.)
  • you’ve ceased responding to your birth name.
  • you spend more money on dice than on food.
  • you sometimes forget what century this is.
  • your first response to any frustrating situation is, “I bash it with my axe.”
  • you know a lot of gaming jokes that used to be funny once.
  • your friend(s) who does not game feels very left out of all of your conversations.
  • you have more gaming books than the local hobby store.
  • you’ve discovered that spare dice make good beanbag filler.
  • you knew that that last question was a ringer: who has more dice than they can use?
  • you have a copy of Dark Dungeons kicking around somewhere because a: you thought it was funny b: your parents got concerned that you were living in a fantasy realm.
  • you’re sort of dissapointed that you haven’t reached the level where they start teaching you the real spells (as described in the above “Dark Dungeons” pamphlet) yet: You’re sure you must be a high enough level.
  • you’ve been gaming for more than half of your life.
  • you still laugh when someone says “Hey, Dave, I think the barbarian in the corner wants another beer.”
  • the phrase “Collect Call of Cthulhu” brings back fond memories.
  • you can quote the whole “Trolls! Mutants! Trolls! Mutants!” strip from What’s New With Phil & Dixie.
  • you knew a female gamer once.
  • you were a female gamer once.
  • you tend to play characters as different from you in race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and what have you as possible, just to confuse your friends.
  • (For New Englanders only) You were able to find stuff at “Flock, Stock, and Barrel.”
  • you’ve been known to have in-depth conversations about the relative merits of Champions, V&V, Marvel, Golden Heroes and DC heroes… ignoring the fact that all superhero systems are intrinsically sucky.
  • you like one of the above systems enough that you yelped when I called them all, “sucky.”
  • you’ve thought of four or five additions to this list.
  • you actually bought TSR’s Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide when it first came out.
  • you’ve ever tried to discover the strengths and weaknesses of a haemophiliac werewolf.
  • someone is attempting to explain the floorplan of a building to you and you immediately start thinking in terms of 10X10 squares.
  • or 6’x6′ hexes.
  • your first though upon walking into a friend’s domicile is to reflect on where you’d put the machine-gun nest.
August 30

#RPGaDAY Day 8: Favourite character

This post is probably one of the easiest to write as in all my years of gaming one character stands out head and shoulders above them all: Garvine of Shadowdale.

Garvine was a second edition AD&D character created using the excellent Chronomancer source book.  This was back in the day when the game was awash with new character classes and  by TSR it was 100% official and it was a tricky thing for a dungeonmaster to turn down.  If you hadn’t already guessed the Chronomancer was a magic user who could manipulate time, so spells like Haste were available at second level rather than third.

One event irked the DM at the time, we had all fallen a long way down a shaft and while he was calculating falling damage I announced I was casting a spell which enabled me to cancel the previous game round; then as we were about to open the door again into the shaft I declared I had a bad feeling about the move and cast Feather Fall which caused us to descend to the bottom unharmed.

Armed with a Wand of Lightning, Oil of Impact and his battle cry of “swingy-swingy-clonk” before hitting his foes with a quarterstaff I had lots of fun playing him.  His partner in crime was Einar the one-eyed Viking warrior and together they had several exciting adventures.  When Garvine retired from play he was 12th level; I have never had a character reach such a high level since then.


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August 28

August 2014 Blog Carnival – Devious Dungeons



This months carnival is being hosted by Mind Weave Role-Playing Platform and they want to know about dungeons.

A confession.

In all my years of gaming the groups I have played in haven’t really done much in the way of dungeon crawling, our fantasy adventures tend to be wilderness or urban themed with the usual mixture of combat, problem solving, barge burning  and diplomacy.  That’s not to say we haven’t done them, they’re just a rarity.

The one dungeon that I do love more than all the others is the first one I ever ran in module B1: In Search of the Unknown; the Caverns of Quasqueton .

The great thing about the dungeon is that is had advice for a novice DM as well as letting you stock it yourself from the charts and tables in the back of the book.  These charts had treasures; both magical and mundane plus monsters appropriate to the level of the characters.  This ensured that although the general layout remained the same, you could never be sure what lurked in the next room.  On top of this there are several unexplained events so that the dungeon retains a magical quantity.

I found it the ideal starter dungeon and this is why I will come back to it time and again for the nostalgia and the happy memories of me running it.


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August 27

#RPGaDAY Day 5: Most Old School RPG owned

The classic red box D&D is the most old school game I have.  This is the one that I really got to read and make my decisions about gaming.  Sure I had the AD&D players handbook but there were all sorts of other books required whereas the red box had it all in one package.

I even have the stub of crayon and dice that came in the box 🙂

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