D&D Season 3: Rage of Demons

A good summary post for character creation this upcoming season: Creating a Rage of Demons character.

The AL Player’s Guide
Pregen PCs
Madness is a big risk this season
The State of Hillsfar
Hillsfar Bonds and Backgrounds
The gods and temples near Hillsfar
Handling Hillsfar (and its Xenophobia) A good article that gestures at ways to incorporate Hillsfar’s racist xenophobia without letting it overwhelm your game or ruin players’ experiences.

Bookwyrm 2015

I had a nice time at Bookwyrm, though there was a bit more of a “working” feel than the cons of my imagination. The first slot I was backup for walk-ins; I prepped City of Danger, but wasn’t needed. Instead, I got to play in a game of The Queen’s Cavaliers run by the author. It came off very smoothly in the GM’s hands; I was impressed by the level of differentiation between skills, well handled via card references and a quick reference page. There’s enough system that it’d take a while to master, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Saturday afternoon, I finally got to play Lady Blackbird with Patrick, Will, and a couple visiting from Southern California. I liked it! I can see why Patrick would like to try the system with a little more time; a con slot was quite rushed, especially with rules explanations.

Sunday morning, I was signed up to play in Jeff’s Dr. Disco vs. The Agents of F.U.N.K.. Unfortunately, we had a bunch of last minute walk-ins, and our “on standby” GM hadn’t played 5e or finished reading the adventure. So I ran instead; a couple (and James) played at the start, but Keith and his son soon joined us.

The first mini adventure’s fight was quite difficult–though, in part, because they approached the tower in small groups, which denied them the chance to power through their foes quickly. They saved the kidnapped boy, but were dropped in the process. Fortunately, the adventure mentioned a pair of guards nearby, who weren’t up to a fight, but could at least treat the wounded.

The second mini adventure was a better story, but the kid was acting out; I think he was frustrated by the first adventure’s finale. (So was I.) So there was a lot of his character spiking the scenario and taunting his dad’s character. A less fun finish to the morning.

The afternoon slot I ran Psi*Run. I had a split of 3 experienced and 3 new players; we did fine. Afterwards, a few players mentioned that their creativity was low since it was the con’s last slot. Still, it was a fun session, and the characters mostly got to ends that their players liked.

All in all, it was a good weekend of gaming. (Though I do look forward to playing an Agent of Funk one on these days!) We were pretty wiped by the end, but enjoyed hopping out to join the organizers afterwards. Before next year we need to decide how to get in gaming; this year, the booth did fine on Saturday (because Jennifer was at it most of the day), but Sunday’s sales were bad because we were both GMing the morning slot, and both played for at least part of the afternoon slot, leaving the table bare. Maybe scheduling an employee to run it for a slot, or just having the table present one day, not both… we need to figure out something for next year.

Bookwyrm and new D&D links

Bookwyrm is coming soon; we’re beginning to wrangle GMs. Patrick and I are in charge of the indie track… and there’s a lot of people who’ve previously run that we’d love to see again. My GM recruitment post is here.

Beyond Bookwyrm, two recent developments in D&D:
web browsable basic D&D rules and a hyperlinked D&D FAQ (for AL)

Also, WotC is recruiting players to write adventures and website articles for D&D.

And Fate…
Fate new player’s guide

History + Gaming = Medieval guilds and cartels

Pearl farming and the secret society of diviners is an interesting look at how when you mix real world limits with the abstraction of fantasy rules, you get something baroque and cool.

There are several related posts, which adapt guild dynamics, medieval foreign and domestic policy, and similar constraints to build up a sordid world. The first article tackles adventuring’s horrific disruption of local society, and is followed by how guilds and vested interests push your magic items out of town, and a darkly conceived little war.

They’re all excellent from a twisted GM’s perspective–they’re tremendous world building. But man they’d be frustrating to experience as a player. They’re a great read, even if it’s not right to actually use this twisted and wonderful logic in your worlds.

Session 2.1: Kingmaker, Lamashan (Harvest Season)

After a summer of hard work, exploring the terrain between their township and the Brevoy (in particular Oleg’s Trading Post) and the founding of Hillsdale, our heroes were in a town meeting when a local tanner approached the council and told of goblins–and their kidnapping of his son.

We return to the action already in progress. Our heroes are:

Bryan is our fearless GM
Marc plays our warrior Stannis, skilled with a bow. Did you see that shot?
Hudson plays Sonja, who fights with savage fury, hewing foes with a greatsword
Brian plays Ambario, whose mastery of armor cements his bold advances
I play Arndor, a sorcerer with a fey talent for hypnosis
Paul played Egg Shen, a monk of unusual disposition from distant eastern lands. He’s taking a break for now.

As the game resumed, the PCs told the tanner that they’d investigate his son’s disappearance. As he’d reached us late in the day, we decided to set off in the morning. That night we gathered gear and arranged for the council to handle matters while we were away. Egg Shen decided to remain behind and continue keeping the town free from spies.

We set off first thing in the morning, shortly before dawn. We rode with the tanner to his rough cottage at the forest’s edge, stabled the horses, and continued on to the clearing where his son had been taken. Time had ravaged the site; it took hours of searching to find a trail that didn’t immediately fade into a game trail. Finally, Stannis found painted rocks marked with goblin runes. We followed the faint trail that led from that point; as we expected, it headed south. We followed the trail for what little daylight remained, then set up camp.
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