Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Shout Out

To the players of the 4e Darksun game "Sun Burn: Wealth and Death in Athas"

Something I threw together since I found The Bunny Kit on a RuneScape Forum. Kit used with permission from Ethan Wykes creator of TheBunnyKit, which can be found at

Looking forward to our next game!


Monday, November 28, 2011


Over on Stargazer's World, I caught a whiff of a variant d20 OGL game named Legend by Rule of Cool. 

"The Legend system core rulebook is now available! Until December 9th, it can be accessed on a pay-what-you-want basis. All proceeds from the book go to benefit Child’s Play." - quoted from site.

Check it out, donate (it's a good cause), and download. It is an interesting take on the conventional d20 rules set, with subtle changes that reflect an interesting take on the OGL (through pg30 ATM). Perhaps a review once I finish Savage Worlds. Also, additional material is promised as financial goals are reached.


Why do I think...

...Mounted characters are cooler? Case in point: Dwarven Warrior, or this?!  (Note: all images used without permission and I will gladly remove them at the request of the artist.)

Or even this?

Place a character on a mount and they get infinitely cooler in my book, for some reason. Maybe it is the added power the mount gives them, though I have never professed to be a min/max power gamer. Past that basic observation, the rationalization of the epic awesomeness - that is mounted characters - eludes me.

My take on the best mount for some of the fantasy staples include;

Dwarves on Dire Bears
Orc on Dire Boars
Goblins on Worgs
Halflings on Raptors (Wolves/Dogs are alright, but come on, Halflings really need something epic IMHO)
Gnomes on Ostriches or Mountain Goats (terrain dependent)


Another must, in my book, is pets. I know where this philosophical predisposition comes from though. From an image I can't seem to find on the webs, that I saw when I first got interested in D&D, of either an Orc or Hobgoblin (Shaman I think) with a staff and two Dire Rats on chains, as pets. Then there was a module that had an image of a man in studded leather loosing his two war dogs. Think he was a warehouse guard or something...

Am I alone in this? Or, as suspected, I have finally lost it?


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adventures In Dark Sun 4E

Tonight was the first official meeting of our new 4e group, and I think a good time was had by all.

Scott: Evil DM
Chris: Shah - Male Genasi Bladesinger
Jeff: Torin - Male Dragonborn Warlord (*Edit* Found out it is Torrin)
Kim: Sadine - Female Human Rogue (*Edit* Found out it is Sadime)
Myself: Finnan - Male Halfling Ranger

[Note: I may have spelled names wrong and gotten the exact Race/Class wrong, but it is what I understood at the time. I also slip in and out of first and third person a lot... sue me.]

The following recap is based on my tired recollection, from the perspective of a corn-rolled  black haired, heavily scarred, beaten, and mad (read psychotic) cannibal Halfling....

We started off with an introduction encounter to learn the ropes. It was an ambush encounter along a path in the woods, by some "Ambush Spiders" - eight to be exact - if I recall correctly. Kim and I were the only two left standing after the encounter, and I think it could have been a TPK if the DM would have played the spiders to the hilt. Being used to older editions from years ago, I wanted to push just how far I could take the new rules and the DM. Seeing the Genasi, a race that I - nor my character - were familiar with, become a translucent form of sandman and sand-step across the battlefield, I had to try it! They all looked at me as if I were mad, and maybe they were right. I told the DM I wanted to do what he did, and describing myself spinning like a dust devil and trying to 'slide' across the sand. I rolled well, as I recall, and went into an attack were I then rolled a '1'. A critical fumble based on the house rules...Dizzy is what I got! good times!

But, basics were learned and lessons taken away...

Primer out of the way, cards were handed out to individuals that set the stage for our current predicament. I still don't know what the others cards read. Mine explained that following the events of my self created back-story, where I was kidnapped by Tri-Keen slavers, I was sold to a Templar of Tyr named Gorix, where I was badly beaten. A Human Female named Shantee sheltered me and took care of me while imprisoned as a slave. For whatever reason, I was packed up and shipped out in a caged caravan heading to who-knows-where.

Arriving at an oasis in the desert, our caravan housing; Torin, Sadine, and I, stopped to trade with another caravan who held Shah. Our caravan leader, a nasty Tri-keen, began to barter with the caravan leader of the other caravan, who was Elven.

Mid negotiations, a desert storm kicked up blinding us and choking us out. When we came to, we prisoners were all that were left alive. Shah sand-shifted through his bars, Torin ripped his cage apart with brute force, and Sadine picked the lock of her cage. I tried to kick the roof out of my cage to no avail and went a little Halfling mad, bouncing around my cage like a wild chimpanzee.

Seeing Sadine (a Human Female) scavenging the bodies outside my cage, I telepathically asked her to help me out. I suppose I shouldn't have referred to her as "Shartee" when I did though.... after some role-play, I believe she thought me mad. As they were about to depart they discussed what to do with me. Reluctantly Sadine picked the lock to my cage and set me free. I knew nothing of the group dynamic from a character perspective. I had spent my time rocking in the corner of my cage until freed.

I gathered my gear and discovered that Shah had appointed himself as guide and leader of the group while taking all items from the Elven caravan as "his personal" equipment. He is a smug SOB in character... Anyway, I kinda took a shine to Sadine, aka Shantee to me, and when Shah asked me what I could provide to the group I suggested I could help carry some gear. He wanted more, but I just stared at him. He asked again. I just moved my mini over behind Kim's, gave her a 'puppy-dog' look, and stared back at Shah's Player. Sadine didn't come to my aid, but Shah finally relented and allowed me to "tag along", and leading, headed out South-South-West....

"Wait! We're going the wrong direction." I say. I had looked at the map earlier. Tyr was South of the Wildernes Mountain Ridges that I was from. South of that was desert, and more desert. We didn't know how long we had been in the desert, but I knew (or wasn't told by the DM) about going through the mountains either. So based on this, I assumed we were heading deeper into the desert... Sadine was not too excited about going back to her home of Tyr, nor was Torin too keen on returning to his place of origin either. Figuring Shah was a self professed 'desert guide' they followed him, and I them. So, we followed Shah.

After several hours of travel we setup camp in some rocky outcroppings. Torin volunteered to take first shift and Sadine suggested that we work in pairs. I moved my mini to hers, but the group agreed that I would stand watch with Torin. Nothing happened our first five hours and we switched out. Just a half hour later, Shah perceives something. Torin, wearing just his shield as a blanket, and I, in my studded leather, got caught in a surprise assault of two large scorpions that came scuttling out of the darkness toward us. Sadine snuck around an outcropping to come in on their rear, but they moved faster than I thought they would.

One each attacked the Dragonborn and I. Getting a buff for the one that Torin had stood to attack, I rolled so as to not be attacked by the scorpion on me (5' shift), and dual attacked the one that he had bloodied. It went down the next round, either by Torin or Shah's Magic-Missile from above (he had taken watch from the outcropping above that we had sheltered under, but not before it grabbed me. So now I am held by a large dead scorpion while Torin got dressed no less!

Sadine sneak attacked the other and it turned on her. "No you don't" and I rolled back the other way toward it, after freeing myself, stating I was going to grapple the tail before it stung her. BAM! a 20! I immobilized it just about the time another GIANT Scorpion climbed up on the outcropping to attack Shah. Shah moved down and over onto another smaller outcropping to engage the larger scorpion when he discovered that it was "a beast" of a monster. Far worse than the "LARGE" ones that began the assault. It came over the edge for the three of us after Shah's retreat. I managed to pull off great rolls on a daily power; Sure Shot and Shah popped it with another Magic-Missile. Down it went.

Shah catches sight of another GIANT scorpion coming in from the other direction and Sadine moved to intercept. It grabbed her and Shah hit it with a Magic-Missile. Sadine broke loose as Torin closed and I tried to fire off a dual shot. Natural '1'!  (In Dark Sun weapons break. I could have tried a re-roll, but if I missed, my bow was toast. I chose not to risk it. Torin then gets caught up in the pincers of the Scorpion as he blocked for Sadine, and Shah closed, receiving a second attack attempt from the pinned Warlord's buff. It missed. Having the Scorpion 'bloodied', Torin decides to spit his acid breath on the giant scorpion! Template attack, and Shah is caught up in the attack but saves taking no damage. The Scorpion went down in a rig-goring pile of carapace and jellied entrails!!!

I still think we are going the wrong direction, but at least I am halfway to 2nd level!

*Que victor music*

All-in-all, great role-playing! Interesting using minis, which I wasn't used to, and combat didn't take as long as I had feared it would. Three large combat/role-play scenes between four and ten o'clock, with about a half-hour break to order pizza. It should go faster now that we all have a good grip of our character sheets (a must IMHO for fast combats in this version of D&D). Koodoes to Scott, the DM, for making all the role-play possible and not letting it be the 'board-game on steroids' I thought it could be!


Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Savage I Tell Ya!

With me playing in a new 4e game, with a new group tomorrow, what do I find myself doing? Going over the rules? Checking out my character so I can hopefully recall the multitude of things he can do? Nope! I am reading the Savage Worlds Deluxe PDF that I just bought in a bundle with Suzerain Pocket Universe on RPGnow! for $19.95.

I don't know if I will do a write-up on it as a review. There are plenty of those out there already I think. I will say that I was leery of buying it for its apparent necessity for miniatures. Then, when I read a review online about the Deluxe version having suggestion on how to get around this, I caved. Also, at 161 pages it is digestible... at least so far. I am on page 68.

Game on!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Locked" In Combat....

Yes, it has been a while. I am tired, lacking individuality, and creativity at the moment. But, I have to get back to blogging....

I just wanted to expound on something I thought of while reading through, and cleaning out, some blog posts in my bookmarks. Namely on these from Zak and Telecanter back in... April, I believe.

Procedural Lockpicking - by Telecanter 

Making Picking Locks Fun, Disarming traps + Die Drop Fumbles - by Zak 


I think based on reading these and my current project, I wonder how cool it would be to make this into a combat mechanic? Something like:

  • (1) Bump = Block
  • (2) Probe = Thrust
  • (3) Rake = Slash
  • (4) Twist = Dodge
Need to take out a goblin, roll 4d4 and read them as what must be done to take them out: (2-Thrust, 4-Dodge, 4-Dodge, 3-Slash). Once the Player 'unlocks' the necessary move combination they get to describe how the Goblin is taken out. If they miss by one, they are 'stiff' and all unsolved dice are re-rolled (randomized)? If they miss by two, they are 'jammed', take a wound, and all unsolved dice are randomized?

In the spirit of Trollsmyth's "Shields Shall Splinter", perhaps getting 'jammed', the character could sacrifice a shield or some armor to avoid it like Zak's "Get out of jam free" cards?

I have NO idea what I am talking about actually but the idea sounds interesting... Not very Old School, but... hey, I'm blogging again!

As always,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It Was Bound To Happen

It has happened again... I have had a mind jarring revelation when I should be working/writing on my latest projects. Based on a small fact, that I am sure others are already aware of, when it comes to role-playing; I am Lex Luthor.

First allow me to brain dump the sources of this epiphany before I elaborate:

Zak talked about, "Sandboxes And The Roguish Work Ethic"

Beedo commented that, "Story Matters, But Loot Pays the Bills"

Answers, in part, to my earlier "Click... Click... Boom!" post about Motivations. Both address Player motivation more, but they do give me some insight. 

I grok why and how to get a Player to push headlong into a dungeon of traps, mystery, and dark, but I am still floundering why the Character would do so without it being a game of Russian Roulette...