Friday, November 29, 2013

Gladiator Games 2.0

Caesar is dead, Long Live Caesar!

In an uprising that sees the death of Caesar Brutus Darkhorse, a new government arises that has no interest in operating Gladiator games for the public.  Knowing how much the public has come to enjoy the games however, it is selling the arenas to private operators.

Instead of the government owning all the arenas, each arena is owned by a different person.  The government is regulating the operation of the games however.

Rules covering a minimum as to how much willing combatants must be paid have been established.  There are also regulations on the treatment of "Monsters" intelligent ones in particular and other aspects as well.

In arena towns, PC's can walk into an arena office and enter a "contest" similar to that of the medieval tournaments by selecting the type of opponent they want to fight and if they want to fight a "death" match which pays higher or a "subdual" match which pays lower, but guarantees that the PC will live.

Arena towns and cities also offer many things not found in other places in their effort to build a local economy based on the games.  There are magic shoppes and weapons and armorers selling their services and items to "Gladiators".  

PC's that want to "hunt" and live capture monsters for the matches have found a lucrative market as well.  Arena owners are paying top dollar for the "best" monsters.

As expected, gambling is big in arena towns as are other related crimes.  Each arena town has a thriving thieves guild.

I've even managed to turn it into a game within a game in that Players can run an arena owner as they would a PC.  They start with x amount of GP to buy an arena (the government is selling off the properties at minimal prices just to shed to weight and encourage business in local markets) and to stock it.  They must pay for things like putting up posters and buying monsters and paying the winners of the combats.  They take in money from the gate and sell vendor licenses and even get a take of the licensed gambling.

Potential Gladiators can sign up to compete up to a week ahead of the regular "Show" and prepare or they can sign up at the last minute and do the best with what they have.

There have even been whole PC parties stop into an arena town on the way to some or from some adventure and have one of or more of the PC's sign up to compete and the rest of the party place bets on their fellow party members.

Arena towns are a great place to offload treasure and pick up supplies and other items.  Gotta watch out for shady NPC's selling "magic" items out of a wagon parked behind a tavern or behind the city walls though.  That +2 DragonSlayer sword may not be what they claim it to be.

As a DM,  I have found adding the arena towns to my game have made my game a whole lot of fun.  So much potential for role-playing and interactions in an urban/suburban setting.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Those Fightin' Uruk'hai Revisited

I added Uruk'hai of Tolkien notoriety to my world some time ago.  I have been generally happy with them, but I made them too powerful so I have been looking them over in general from the book to the movies by Peter Jackson and comparing them to humanoids in general in 1E, Orcs in particular.

Orcs are a one hit dice monster in 1E.  I have little problem with that as in general, men and demi humans are also one hit dice at base as well.  Men typically have 1d6 whereas demi-humans and humanoids use a d8. They are all about the same level in general.

PC's are the exception to the rule.  They are able to accumulate much more hit points than the generic human, demi-human or humanoid as they gain new levels.

However,  Uruk'hai are not your typical humanoid.  They are created magically and with malicious intent for the purpose of killing.  They are made of sterner stuff than your average Orc.  Having said that, it's very tempting to want to overpower Uruk'hai in comparison to Orcs by giving them multiple hit dice.

That throws everything off though. Instead, what I have found that is working better was to downscale the Uruk'hai to being a 1 hd monster.  The guaranteed 3 HP wil lset them up as being tougher than your average Orc, yet still not throwing things completely out of whack.

I gave Uruk'hai leaders 1+3 and commanders are 2+3 HD.  This, to me, shows that the toughest Uruk'hai are the ones who take charge and have beaten most of the others as well as have demonstrated greater toughness on the battlefield.

I think of the scene in the Peter Jackson movie "The Fellowship of the Ring" when Uruk'hai are attacking Boromir and the rest in an effort to kidnap Frodo and recover the ring.  Most of the attacking Uruk'hai seem to go down relatively easily at the hands of Aragorn and the others with the exception of the Uruk'hai commander with the bow.  After shooting Boromir three times then being attacked from behind and stabbed then impaled by Aragorn, that Uruk'hai still has enough fortitude in him to pull himself forward on the sword to get closer to Aragorn.  Clearly this Uruk'hai is not a 1 HD creature.  It took being decapitated to stop him.

Uruk'hai will not stop, they have no fear so no need for a morale check. They will take no prisoners unless the one controlling them tells them to and then, they will just grab and go.  There are no meaningful negotiations to be had with them.

There have been arguments about Orcs in the game and if they are inherently Evil or otherwise.  This question doesn't even exist for Uruk'hai. They are made Evil.  Their purpose is to kill and subdue everything else around them.

I like these monsters.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dendrik's Shields

Dendrik was a dwarven armorer and Magic User of some limited, specific ability. He found a way to imbue a +2 shield with a 10' protection spell.

For every 2 Hit Points of damage taken by the shield/circle of protection, 1 charge is removed from the shield. Each shield had 1d20 charges to it and once the charges are reduced to zero, it operates as a normal +2 shield. The shield can be recharged by a Magic User.

 To use the shield with the prot. power, the command word must be spoken (Dwarven word for "Dendrik Protect Us")when raising the shield. As long as the shield is raised and the words are spoken, the protection will hold. If the shield is removed, or the command to cease protection is spoken ("We are safe" in dwarvish.) the protection will cease.

Anyone within 10' of the shield bearer will be protected from all physical attacks including hand, weapon or missile attacks. Breath weapons such as dragonfire breathing are blocked as well.

Only 1d6 of these shields are rumored to exist.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Faldril's Enchanted Weapons

Faldril was a Blacksmith of superior ability. His weapons were the gleam in any fighting man's eye. One thing that Faldril wanted to make most was magic weapons so that he could take his craft to what he felt was the "next level". His deity, Qrandril The Steel-eyed, took notice one day of Faldril's workmanship when the great smith made a war hammer of such high quality that he held it high over his head and dedicated the weapon to Qrandril himself.

Impressed with the incredible worksmanship and the way that Faldril gave credit for his talent and skill to the deity so readily, Qrandril saw the blacksmith's wish in his heart and beginning with that hammer, granted the ability to enchant every weapon of similar quality with a special enchantment.
The sign of Qrandril's enchantment on one of the weapons was made known by the weapon being illuminated with a dim silvery light emanting from it

Beginning with the first war hammer and subsequent weapons, Faldril's Highest quality weapons carry these abilities.:

Each weapon has a +2 bonus To Hit and To Damage.

On a roll of a natural 20, the weapon releases a concussive blast doing 3d10 damage to the target and pending a save vs magic, 1d10 damage to all foes within 10' of the target.

On a roll of 5 over the minimum required To Hit roll on a d20, the weapon will do typical damage of the War Hammer, with an extra bonus of +2

If a natural 1 on a d20 To Hit roll results, the damage called for (if craps are used) is only half of damage rolled.

Faldril, over his lifetime, made 1d10 enchanted War Hammers, 1d10 enchanted Swords and 1d10 enchanted Battle Axes.

The line between Role-Playing and Play-Calling

When it comes to playing games like AD&D 1E is that being an RPG (Role Playing Game) many, if not most, of the adventures are written so as to be Role-Played out.  Imagine that.

But, Role-Playing has an elasticity of it's own when it comes to defining the term.  To some, it means becoming a Type 1 Shakespearean actor and assuming the identity of the character in question.  To others it means taking a Type 2, "HI, I'm Bob, now I'm Falstaff the Fighter." outlook where the delivery of dialogue and role are more laid back and generalized.

Then, for many, there really isn't any "Role-Playing" happening at all.  These are usually the Play-Callers.  It is more like having a narrator describing the the goings on of the scene.  "My Fighter, Falstaff tells the store owner that he wants to buy a sword and a s quiver of arrows."

As a DM,  I have no real problem with either of these types of Players.  Well, truth be told, the all out actor does get on my nerves after the first five minutes or so.

When it comes to running games though, the DM/GM can face a minor dilemma when setting the stage, so to speak, in an adventure.  There are some published modules out there that one can tell the author really foresaw or intended for there to be a lot of dialogue and one to one interaction between PC's and NPC's.

The Role-Player Will usually get all excited and champ at the bit when these moments come up because this is what the game is all about for them.  Play-Callers get bored in these moments because there's really not much for them to "do" in these situations besides wait out the interaction.

I have been reading "& Magazine" recently, catching up through the past issues and I have noticed that for the most part, the authors and contributors are really into creating interactions for Role-Playing throughout the magazine.  Often using mini stories to present the information.  I get it, that's fine, interesting from a Fantasy reader's POV.

Another thing the magazine does a lot of is to present new spells and enchanted items, etc... for readers to implement into their own games.   More often than not, the presentation is set up so as to make the accumulation or acquiring of said items a mini-adventure in itself.

When I read these articles,  I think to myself, this would be a petty cool solo adventure for a PC to go on in between larger adventures or as part of training to level up.

Then  I also stop to consider how will a Role-Player take to this as opposed to a Play-Caller?  Half of the deal involves me as the DM Role-Playing the NPC part of the interaction.  Personally, as DM and especially as a Player,  I am much more comfortable as a Type 2 Role-Player or as a Play-Caller.  How much do I want to make the interaction drag out?

Let's be honest here, Role-Playing can be quite fun and add a lot to the story and experience of playing the game.  It also can add a lot of time to a game session and if there is a limited bloc of time available, most cuts take out the most elaborate Role-Play interaction segments of the game.  That's just the impact of time management in the game.

I can say from the experience of playing the game as DM with a 12 year old boy and a 14 year old girl that when they allow themselves to relax enough to get into the Role-Playing and interaction things can get very interesting and fun (and funny), yet more often than not, in the interest of keeping the game a bit more fast paced, they tend to do half Type 2 Role-Play and half Play-Call.

Next post, I'll bring up solo adventures and dealing with minutiae and details of acquiring/making specific items.

Bram Stoker would want you to have this

A "Band of Stoker" is an armband worn by an adventurer and when attacked by undead, for each attack that would normally drain life force/level, the band absorbs the evil. Each band starts as gold colored. After the first attack absorbed, it changes to silver color. After the second attack absorbed, it changes to copper color at the third attack it absorbs, it changes to a dull lead grey color and is no longer able to absorb the evil attacks.

The band can be restored to the next highest level it started as. so at first restoration, it can be made silver. at second restore, it can be made copper. After that, no more restoration of that band.

Restoration must be done by a cleric of 7th level or higher. Band must have "Exorcism" spell cast upon it then "Bless" spell once for each level of restoration.

The armband also adds a penalty to hit to the undead attacking of -1 for each of the "Bless" spells cast upon it. so, a new band would have a penalty of -3 at Gold. At Silver, -2. At Copper, -1.

Occurrence: Rare.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Back to the Cleric's role in the party

I was reading an issue of "& Magazine" recently (a good magazine.  you should check it out) and I saw the discussion of how to play a cleric.  It went by the old standby advice of essentially being a healbot because the Cleric isn't a front-line Fighter.

Personally,  I disagree with this notion, but it is prevalent in the game and so  I began to think about the question, "What do you do with a Cleric if you do not use it on the front lines?"

I like to do it this way;

The Cleric makes an excellent bodyguard for non-fighters like Magic Users and Illusionists.  With first level spells like Light, Protection From Evil and Detect Evil, he or she most certainly fits in along the first line or just behind it. 

Like I've said in earlier posts, the Cleric is not merely some churchy parish priest here, he is, a Hero scale "Dog of War" for his deity.  There are "regular" priest types in every temple and church in every village, town and city you go into.  The Cleric is an emissary from that deity itself.  He over-rules any regular priest in a church.

Yes, the Cleric has numerous healing spells.  That doesn't mean he has to be a walking Band Aid though.Healing is for the innocent or those who "earn" it with valor and heroic deeds.  That's a valuable spell slot that could easily be used to defend the party or attack an evil enemy.  Healing has to be warranted, not expected to be handed out like candy on Halloween.

While it's usually frowned upon to charge party members and team mates for healing, or the innocent bystanders, there is every reason to expect that "hey, through me, my deity has just expended some serious energy and maybe a minor miracle to help you out here."  It's not unreasonable to ask for a tribute or small recognition to the deity that helped.  Also, for bigger scale actions like restoration, resurrection, etc...  we're gonna have a chat about conversion here soon.  If not conversion, then maybe going on a quest or some such in the near future.

I have no problem seeing a Cleric leading a group of Paladins dedicated to the same deity into righteous battle (or, conquestive battle if this is an evil deity bent on conquest). 

One of these days, I'm going to have a Cleric PC have some Paladin Henchmen and just go out and whoop the snot out of some wicked evil-doers.  They'd be like the A-Team of that deity.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Potion Pondering

A little something I have been using in my games.  Just thought I'd share.  You might like them, you might not.  Use them as you will.

Potion of Tongues

This potion allows the person who drinks it to read, speak and understand any language.

The potion comes in a heavy crystal vial with 3 notches marked on it dividing the vial into 4ths. If a character drinks 1/4th of a vial, the potion will work for 15 minutes. Each 1/4th of a vial that is taken, is good for 15 minutes with the whole potion good for 1 hour.

However, After the potion wears off, the character will remember nothing of what was said, heard or read. Any witnesses will be able to remember and the character can write things down if possible, but they will have no memory of the communications at all.

The Everfull Option
If any potion is obtained from a trapped location or from a high level source, this option allows for the DM to determine that there is a 1d10 percent chance that the vial in question is an "Everfull" vial.

 This means that once the vial has been emptied, capped and put away for 24 hours, when it is pulled out again, it will have been magically refilled with the same potion.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Watery Dungeon Crawl

by Tony Sandoval
for a party of 4 to 6, levels 2 to 4, PC’s

In the Kingdom of Agua Pescado, the High Priest/ruler of the land has asked for help in finding a lost item.

When the party comes together and arrives in the temple courtroom, Ol-Obsidian, the High Priest explains that a very valuable item has been stolen from the temple that is of the highest value to the kingdom. The Divine Pearl was taken by thieves. An artifact that was a gift to the people of Agua Pescado from the sea god Kra-Kon himself for some of the fishermen of the area finding and rescuing one of his daughters, protecting her from harm. It is by the presence of this pearl that the kingdom by the sea has not suffered sea storms or any trouble from the sea in the past 300 years. in it’s absence, the kingdom has been experiencing storms and attacks from sea creatures which they have been unprepared for due to never having to face them for so long.

The High Priest knows exactly where the pearl is because he asked the sea god Kra-Kon to strike down the thieves and return the pearl to them. While Kra-Kon did indeed punish the thieves in a most unmerciful manner, he was only able to provide a map to the current location of the pearl after the ship it was on sank beneath the waves in the onslaught against the thieves.

The pearl is in a locked chest in the wreck of the ship on the sea floor. Kra-kon has set certain creatures to guard the chest from would be pirates and new thieves, but the creatures find it difficult to tell friend from foe, so the going will not be easy as the sea itself aggressively defends the chest and pearl.

It is the party’s task to retrieve the chest and pearl to the High Priest. Ol Obsidian tells the adventurers that if they do manage to find and retrieve the chest to him, Kra-Kon has vowed that the party will find vast treasures from nearby shipwrecks on the sea floor that have been sunk or wrecked over the centuries in the area. Once the pearl is safe on land, the sea and creatures will allow safe passage to the adventurers to investigate and retrieve the treasure.

The map indicates that the party must strike out from a beach about 3 miles south of the kingdom to a rock island approx. a mile or so offshore near a rock formation. From the rocks, the adventurers will have to get down to the sea floor, some 100 feet down, find the specific sunken ship among that are down there and retrieve the chest with the pearl to the rocks before they will be allowed to bring any treasure up.

The area of sea is renowned for being infested with all manner of dangerous sea creatures such as sharks, octopus and other mysterious creatures that rumors only guess at.

DM Note: The party will have to make their way to the rocks and dive down to the floor and search each of the ships to find which is the correct ship, then searching the ship for the chest with the pearl. This will likely require multiple trips from the surface to the floor as they investigate each of the ships in random order of discovery or in order of DM preference.

More details to come

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All In all, he did fine

Well, My son and us finished the game he was DMing tonight. Overall, I'd say he handled it pretty well.

He wasn't as familiar with the game as he could/should have been. He was a bit to lenient, in my opinion in the monster encounters as well. Then again, he was just excited to pit the monsters against us without having TPK on his hands.

He gave away way too much treasure in terms of magical items.

In context though, it was a fun game and he seemed happy that he got through it all without asking me to take over (his words). Basically, he dealt with issues all first time DMs's deal with.

He wants to DM again, that's a good sign. I know I and my daughter both said we enjoyed the game and would play with him as DM again. Which made him feel good.

Now, my daughter is looking even more forward to her turn as DM next week. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

He's at the plate, he swings and he....

Hits a double. First time out, I don't think that's a bad thing at all. Pretty darn good for a kid taking his first crack at DMing an AD&D 1E game.

For those not in the know (Gasp, you haven't been following this page faithfully?!) my 12 year old son is taking up the reigns of DM for the first time.

He started with a simple dungeon crawl last week generated at DonJon random generator and got his toes wet. He did OK. It made him realize that he wasn't nearly as well prepared as he thought he was, despite ole Dad trying to give him some pointers on game prep. Gotta let them walk or fall on their own, can't do it for them.

Then we printed out a first level module from DragonsFoot called "DragonMount". He selected it himself. I figure he would pay more attention and invest himself in it more if it was something that he chose on his own and was interested in personally.

We played for about 3.5 hours yesterday in one long session. We didn't finish the adventure in one sitting, we'll try to do that today if possible. He seems to think we got through most of it yesterday.

I'm not looking over his shoulder or anything like that. I do let him call a "time out" when he feels the need so that I can put on my "DM Hat" and help him to figure out or understand something as he goes along. So far, he feels pretty good about it. Thinks he wants to keep on DMing beyond this. This is a good thing in my opinion.

My 14 year old daughter takes her turn at DMing next week. After watching him do it, she is raring to go.

Here's how I see it. Learning to play AD&D 1E is one thing and it can slip away easily. I have known many, many people who were players at one point in time then got away from the game and never went back.

When they learn to be a DM and run their own games, you have then actually "passed the torch" and they are more likely to play the game much longer going forward. I'm an example of that myself.

Them learning to be a DM is actually giving them the whole game. They no longer "need" you in order to play anymore. They can take their experience and maybe find other kids or people to introduce the game to on their own. Hopefully, though once beginning to DM, they may no longer "need" me in order to play, they will still game with me anyway for a long time to come.

Personally, this is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my kids. Everybody is working together, having fun, laughing and engaging in a little friendly competition. I get to use the game as a teaching tool at the same time. How to think, how to strategize, how to use reasoning skills. How to safely and in a healthy way blow steam off from the "real" world without getting drunk, getting stoned or getting in trouble.

I have also given them a hobby instead of just a game. Once you begin to DM, you can spend all kinds of time with just a pencil and paper inventing new dungeons, planning out encounters and future games.

I can also say I've given them a new appreciation of "story" and reading. They have, since beginning to play, been hitting the public library up almost non-stop for two years now reading some great books like, "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings", The original Robert E Howard books of Conan and so many more. They are reading mythology and folk tales from various cultures. Why? because it all helps them to get a better understanding of what they are up against in the games. It gives them some perspective.

I love this game.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Monster Manual 2

I have been known to say on occasion that the only "true" core books in 1E are the Players Handbook, the Dungeon Masters Guide and the Monster Manual. Everything beyond those three are not "core" and thus are accessorial only, Completely unnecessary.

Having said that. I must admit that I am a fan of the Monster Manual 2 (MM2. not necessarily because of the monsters listed in it. Truth be told, I think at good 50% or more of them are beyond stupid and I will never likely use in a game.


The supplemental information provided at the beginning and after the monster listings is just plain awesome. I love the Wandering Monster tables that are included. The "How To" make your own Wandering Monster table using the commonalities groupings and the subsequent customized tables of monsters provided for DM use in said tables.

Are those tables and information "necessary" to the game? Of course not, but they sure are handy as all get out.Anther great add in to the MM2 is the dice roll table at the beginning of the book. An example is how useful this table is would be that my kids are now beginning to try their hands at DMing games. As they immerse themselves into learning the varied mechanics of the DM, seeing the sometimes "weird" (as said by my 12 year old son who is DMing a game this weekend for us) die rolls called for had him stumped until I showed him this table in the MM2.

When he saw that a giant rat does 1-2 damage in a bite attack, he was wondering how he would roll 1d2? He didn't have one of those. That's when I broke the MM2 table out for him. (for those not in the know, the table says to roll 1d6 with 1-3 being a result of "1" and 4-6 being a result of "2".)

It really is the inclusion of tools such as these that make the MM2 worth the money spent on it. I could live without the monsters it added to the mix.

Educated idiots and foolish geniuses

In the game of AD&D 1E (and OSRIC as well) there are six character ability scores that determines a characters "power" in the game, so to speak.

Intelligence (INT) is one of these scores and Wisdom (WIS) is another. These are what I want to look at today. I don't know about you or other DM/GM's out there, but I find from time to time a need to check against a PC's ability score to determine if they would be likely to know something in particular, would be able to reason a problem out in a certain amount of time, if they were very gullible or not, etc...

In the game, INT is supposed to be a catchall for all things "smart". some people would lump in sensibility along with that, but I don't. WIS already has "street smarts" covered in taking one's life experiences and the ability to draw upon those experiences to inform a decision or even change a decision process entirely.

Essentially, I look at INT as covering education (mostly formal) combined with the ability to "think on one's feet".

WIS on the other hand is the ability to learn from one's experiences (how good their "gut" is) and how gullible or naive one is.

Looking at it this way, you can certainly reflect "real life" situations in PC's by having highly intelligent and educated characters who get conned and buffaloed constantly. You can also have the canny and savvy person who never really went to school for whatever reasons.

Find that character with a high WIS and INT score and there you have someone who will usually get along just fine in the world no matter who or what they are up against. Wait a minute, you have Detective Columbo!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Ranger (6th Level)

Ability Scores:







Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter's dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Band of Stoker

A "Band of Stoker" is an armband worn by an adventurer and when attacked by undead, for each attack that would normally drain life force/level, the band absorbs the evil. Each band starts as gold colored.

After the first attack absorbed, it changes to silver color. After the second attack absorbed, it changes to copper color at the third attack it absorbs, it changes to a dull lead grey color and is no longer able to absorb the evil attacks.

The band can be restored to the next highest level it started as. so at first restoration, it can be made silver, at second restore, it can be made copper. After that, no more restoration of that band.

Restoration must be done by a cleric of 7th level or higher.  Band must have "Exorcism" spell cast upon it then "Bless" spell once for each level of restoration.

The armband also adds a penalty to hit to the undead attacking of -1 for each of the "Bless" spells cast upon it. so, a new band would have a penalty of -3 at Gold. At silver, -2. At Copper, -1.

How Charming

I've been watching a discussion on a thread in DF regarding the "Charm Person" spell for a couple days now.  I've chipped in a couple times in response to a question but I have been otherwise just reading with interest many of the responses, some of which seem, to me, to take such a first level spell WAAAAY overboard.

I can see how people can abuse such a spell just as I can see how easy it is to get carried away with it.

Here's my take on the spell.

It gives the caster about the same influence over a target that a person the target puts on a pedestal like someone they are a fan of or that they idolize.  They will do just about anything (within certain parameters) to impress the caster as they would their idol.  If that idol should let them down, seriously disappoint them, bring them to harm, etc... the person "opens their eyes" so to speak and just like in the spell, it is over.

It's not meant to be a total mind control spell. it won't let you turn the target into your slave or robot.

Someone brought up the difference between the effect of Charm that a monster such as a vampire casts on victims and the Charm Person spell and I agree, the monster's version is more like that of a cult leaders influence.  It's akin to being brainwashed instead of being "star struck".

There is already a spell that gives more influence to a caster in the third level spell, "Suggestion" which is more like the Jedi mind control Obi Wan uses to cause people to think, "These are not the droids you're looking for."

Does the target "know" they have been placed under a spell while it is occurring?   I think that depends on the situation where the DM has to decide if the circumstances are so contrary or out of normal for the person to question their own "thoughts", otherwise, probably not.

Will the target, if they realize they are actually a spell target, be unhappy about that?  I think that's a stupid question.  The caster in question better have some options at hand just in case such a target snaps out of their control.

How long will the target stay under the spell?  According to the spell, so long as they keep failing anticipated savings throws, indefinitely.  The more intelligent the target, the less likely they will stay "Charmed", again, based on the saving throw schedule.

Can you use the charmed person/monster as a solider/bodyguard?  That depends on the nature of the target to begin with.  If they are not a fighter type to begin with and the request is not phrased just so, then highly doubtful.

If they are a fighter type personality and the caster couches the request in such a way that makes sense to the target, then probably so.  You'd pretty much have to make it seem like it was their idea, seeing as it can directly place the target in danger.

Are said charmed targets the same as a henchman? Do they count against the henchman limits of CHA?  Personally, I'd say no.  It's not a "Create Henchman" spell.  The point of the spell is to make someone friendly to you without having to take the time to build a friendship.  I see this spell more as something to help you get into a restricted access area or to get help finding something or someone, etc...

I see "Charm Person" as part of a Role Players game rather than in a Chess Masters game in that the real use and fun of using such a spell is based on the role playing interaction with the NPC's and other PC's encountered.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Who was that Player Character anyway?

Just thought I'd share something I do in regard to role playing a variety of PC's.  It's not unheard of around here to have Players playing anywhere from about 1 to 4 PC's at one time in a given game session.  Whether that is all PC's or a combination of PC's and NPC's, it happens. (of course, if it's NPC's such as Henchmen, the DM (usually me) takes on more of an active role in determining things and the following is even more helpful I've found.

What I like to do when rolling up new characters is to use the NPC tables in the back of the DMG for NPC creation.  These let you figure out the personality (somewhat) and dispostion of the character.

I like to think I am a pretty creative guy.   I really like to give each character  I create it's own unique back story and/or personality.   I don't want every character to just be a shadow of every other character I have run.

Having said that, sometimes I don't have the luxury, time or ambition to go into all that, especially if I have just rolled up 2 or more characters at once.

So,  I go to the back of the DMG and roll on the random tables to get a unique and random "personality" for the character.  When things come up as to how the PC will react to something in game or what they might do in a certain situation and it is not obvious to me at that moment,  I just look at the notes where I wrote all those down and it essentially tells me what the character would do.

I also keep a list of each monster that individual character has encountered as it goes along on the notes section of it sheet.  That way,  I know if that particular character has faced that particular monster or not and I can roleplay the character's action/reaction to it appropriately.

I do believe in the point of roleplay where the Player may be a 30 year veteran that has seen it all but the PC is a brand new PC and hasn't faced anything yet.  Sometimes though, it's hard to separate one PC from another and that knowledge seems to get passed on anyway.  Some Players give up and figure that it's easier to assume their PC does know what the player knows.

I prefer to keep things fresh per character.  I think of myself as a spectator in those cases where I know what's coming but I can;t act like the character knows.  Like watching a god old monster movie and yelling at the tv to the her o even though you've seen it a hundred times, the hero still isn't going to hear you yelling.  heh heh.

Passing on the torch

My son (12) wants to give a shot at being a DM.  I let him select a published mod from DragonsFoot and printed it out for him to prep for running a game within a week or two.

I started him with a quick and dirty little random dungeoncrawl generated on DonJon then he looked it over and decided he wanted to try to "tweak it",  I figured,  "why not?"  go ahead.  Hasn't even started DM'ing and he 's already a homebrewer, how do  I argue with that?

He did a quick run through of the dungeon crawl last night to get a better idea of how things work DM'ing a game.   I ran 4 PC's through the dungeon with different classes to give him an idea of how things work.

He had fun,  I had fun.  At the end, he realized he got carried away adding stuff and making a 1st level dungeon way too difficult for 1st level PC's, so then he pared back to almost too weak.  You could even tell when he realized things were going off path for his expectations.  I gave him some help  , but wanted to let him get a feel for riding solo, so to speak. 

I think he did pretty good overall.  I think he'll study the "big" module from DF better now as being unfamiliar with the crawl was one of his biggest problems, though he insisted beforehand he was familiar with it.  BUSTED!

The DF module is "DragonMount", a level 1 module.  The dragon focus is interesting to him so he'll be likely to read it over and get better familiar with it  I guess.

I've let him look over both the 1E DMG and the OSRIC guide and after giving him about a week to use both to look things up and to use them both to prepare for the dungeon crawl, I asked him which he prefered.

He said he thinks he would like the DMG more once he got more familiar with where everything is at in the book, but he really prefers the OSRIC guide as he thought it was easier to find what he was looking for and easier to understand.

Gotta give OSRIC major props.

I'll post on how the "big" game goes in about a week or so when we get a chance to play it out.

What's really trippy for me here is that my kids started playing this game about two years ago, after finding the books and getting me to run a game for them.

Now, not only have both of them continued to keep interest and continue to play for almost two years, they both want to try their hand at being DM.

How cool is that?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

new adventures

Holy Moly, it's been a day or two since I've posted here.

I've been kind of busy lately, haven't even had a lot of time for the games this last month.

Things are settling down for the Fall/Winter though so I will be getting back at it again, at least somewhat more.

I have been having a lot of fun with the Monster Hunters campaign and over the past couple of games, i have sort of developed an arch-enemys plot between Herschel, the founder of the Monster Hunters and Farvan Zu'ul, a chaotic-Evil Cleric set on bringing the world to it's knees and has gotten Herschel in his line of sight as his greatest adversary in accomplishing that.

Farvan is now at the point where he will be able to accomplish some really nasty and powerful things as he quests for specific items of power from his deity which will help him achieve his goal.

He is encountering Herschel's teams more frequently and though they come close, they are always a few steps behind him.  As Herschel's team gets closer, Farvan Zu'ul gets more confident.  He is leaving taunting messages for Herschel.

Though Herschel is a tough and talented fighter, his greatest strength is in recruiting and training talented PC's and putting teams together that will complement each member of that team.  He has a real eye for leadership that has gotten him over many a seemingly unstoppable obstacle.  Will his hand picked teams be able to help him stop Farvan Zu'ul before it is too late?

I like to write adventures as DM neutral, meaning that I just try to write a good game and may the best PC/Player win.  The real fun in it for me is to put together a good story in which the Players can piece together evidence and resources and succeed in dangerous places, on dangerous missions against dangerous adversaries.

For the detectives among them, I like to place clues and details that will catch their attention and be put to use.  for the brawlers, I like to pit them against adversaries that challenge not only their fighting abilities, but their tactical skills as well.

As my kids, who are the Players in my games, have become better Players,  I am forced to write better adventures.   I like the challenge.  This is how I have fun, aside from playing with bees that is.