What Happens Next, Multiclassing

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

3e introduced simplistic, intuitive multi-classing rules, rules that allowed characters of any race to become any class. It all worked. Until it didn’t

Gary_Gygax_DMG_Adventurers_Meet_Maiden_Near_Forest_Pond.pngOptimal builds became a thing, characters pick up a levle or two of a class to gain a special ability and move on.

No special training needed or required.

Methinks the Master would disajree. And, having grown weary of such gameplay, methinks I would ajree with him.

There is a a permissive trend in games that allow for anything, but it’s not for the sake of story, it’s for the sake of power-gaming.

Maybe I just want to make a character and do cool stuff.

Why dos it have to be an arms race? Why can’t a fighter stay a fighter?

5e has brought many people back to the hobby, but I’m not a fan. All the specialized sub-classes are too much for me, they take away from the core of the game: Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Thief.

If playing AD&D with more than 4 people there would be variations, and specializations, but there was also niche protection.

I like to think much of my design work and gaming philosophy is relatively modern and forward thinking.

But, I also think there is a place for niche protection, and there is a place for storytelling over leveling up.

Although I played one once, the world doesn’t need a Kender paladin.

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13 for 13th, Greyhawk

category19796On the 13th day of each of the 13 months, we will bring you some content and ideas for 13th Age, our absolute favorite D&Derivative game.

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

Greyhawk is a huge world, filled with significant NPCs, history, etc. If you’re a fan, likely you can come up with your own Icons, but if you need some inspiration:

  • Ivid
  • Rary
  • Kas
  • Vecna
  • Zagyg
  • Mordenkainen
  • St. Cuthbert
  • Warnes Starcoat
  • Robilar
  • Murlynd
  • Tenser
  • Otiluke
  • Theodain Eriason

Additionally, one does not have to squint too hard to find the Greyhawk corollary of the iconic 13th Icons.

 

Friday Refresh, Dragonchess

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

Dragonchess_gameboardGary Gygax introduced Dragonchess in an issue of Dragon Magazine. It is indeed a chess variant, but is much more detailed than just that. It requires 3 unique boards, and numerous new pieces.

If such a set were offered on some crowdfunding website, I can’t see it not doing well.

If you want more information on the game.

I’m not a big chess fan, but I am sure Mad Dog and I would give this a try.

 

 

What Happens Next, Monks?

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

p1p13Playing a traditional fantasy game, and then, a new class is introduced, and everyone all of a sudden wants to be that class. There is only one major problem:

Where were all the members of this class before?

Maybe they are monks, so not part of the nomral landscape, introduced from an exotic land. Or drow.

But, step back for a moment, if you allow such things what about players who already had characters, is it fair to them to not have had this option?

And what if this new class or ability is not balanced?

Take a look at this 4e power. Who wouldn’t want to be able to knock an opponent prone with an At-Will ability. At the most base level, the opponent must now stand-up as their move action if they want to not be prone. But, it isn’t hard to imagine knocking certain characters prone and how that might cripple them.

When I saw this, I knew that 4e was not long for the world. Powercreep had set in, thrown out the window was any semblance of balance.

Tis a shame.

Don’t force your players to regret their decisions, be transparent in what you are offering them, allow them to change their characters if it better fits their story.

 

 

RPG Saturday, Lejendary Adventure

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

Gary-Gygaxs-Lejendary-Adventure-RPG-Core-Rules-set-_1The story goes that this “lite” rpg game was the house system for Gygax’ home games. I want to believe that. I want to like this game.

What I like: the way spells and weapons work is interesting. Spell tablets do not necessarily make sense, but I respect Mr. Gygax for going in a different direction. The cover has charm, as it is a rendition of Gary suggesting to a group of adventurers to be on their way to exciting new vistas. Although the cover art is not on-par with games published at the same time, it has a certain old school charm. Having only 3 stats: Health, Precision, and Speed is also an interesting choice.

What I like less: Mr. Gygax needed an editor, one with a strong hand, one who understood game rules, and one who could force changes. Why Speed works differently (yet the same when multiplied by 4) as the other two stats is one of the places and editor could have improved the game. The font choice, layout  and interior art are…. frankly….. not good. Downright bad. Orders are an interesting, but poorly executed idea, which was not described well at all in the original print run. The list of Abilities is very long and not necessarily intuitive.

HOWEVER…. I think there is jenius here. I really do. I believe that if given the blessing, a group of game designers could take this game and turn it into something amazing, without really changing much of the game play. I would like to play this game. I would like to play it with someone who loves it. I think this is a worthy successor to the original D&D, but one that needs work. I doubt my ideas would ever come to fruition, and I doubt there are many games of this being run… But i scour GenCon every year. Maybe I need to get to GaryCon?

CHARACTER: Zakef, Unordered Human

Health: 50, Precision 61, Speed 14.5

ABILITIES: Weapons: 61, Stealth: 49, Minstrelsy 36, Enchantment: 22, Arcana: 10.

Notable equipment: Heavy Sword: 11-20, Range 5, Speed 9, +0; Short Sword: 2-20, R2, S3, +20; Memory Tablet w/ Disrupt Power, Invisible Form (58 AEPs)

Friday Refresh, Queen of the Spiders

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

There are rumors of a new D&D movie, I will not only believe it when I see it, but given the quality of the previous incarnations……

queenThe supermodule referred to as Queen of Spiders, which covers Against the Giants, Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, Vault of the Drow, and Queen of the Demonweb Pits starts with characters facing off against giants (Hill, Frost, Fire), and then heading underground and finally to another plane facing off against a godlike entity.

1- This should be done as an epic mega-adventure, but instead of just re-statting the monsters, reimagine the whole adventure and flesh it out, akin to the Margaret Weis Dragonlance trilogy of books detailing and reimagining the iconic campaign.

pic11216062- If one was looking for a longform TV series, or even trilogy of epic fantasy films, could one do any better than this? The Escher-like Demonweb could be amazing on screen!

Because this was a 1st Edition release it is alternately defined broadly and vaguely as well as very specific, and certainly could be fleshed out more.

 

What Happens Next, Your Chocolate in My Peanut Butter

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

poweredarmorilloPowered Armor is probably one of the most over-powered itemsin AD&D. Yes, it says that it can only be powered at specialized terminals, but that means the technology exists, surely, some of the super-smarty pants types could figure this out.

What is the Butterfly Effect here though? Just one suit of this armor gets into the hands of a power-hungry character, can they be stopped.

Is this what you want to have happen in your campaign?

Gamemasters should really think hard when doing stuff like this, it can dramtically change a campaign, and is something that might be very hard to take back.

Anything you can do, I can do better? Said the GM to the players.

RPG Saturday, Castles and Crusades

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

767074Though he did not officially write C+C, he was part of the design team and gave this D&D style game his blessing.

C+C is what happens when one combines 1e with some newer ideas, and might have been one of the games that paved the way for the OSR.

Some of the innovations are interesting and exciting, specifically how some of the monsters work, as well as the concept of the preferred attribute, an Intelligent fighter? Yes, indeed.

But, do these innovations fully succeed?

Is there enough innovation, enough intuitive play, and enough old school play to warrant this game?

There was a time when I was charmed by the game, and I would be interested in running and / or playing to give it a try, but like the game it is seeking to embrace, it is also, at this point perhaps a bit of a dinosaur.

It is functional if not unimpressive.

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Friday Refresh, Dragon Magazine

For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

c0be6a8108520bdc2c36634fe578735e--playing-games-game-ideasLong ago, Dragon Magazine was more than just an in-house vehicle for the company that produced D&D and other games. Yes, it prominently featured content for D&D, Top Secret, MSH, and other games, but also featured mini-games, reviews of games, ads for other companies properties.

Print is dead in many ways, and we live in a culture where relevant, timely info is dispersed in seconds without months of wait.

Here is the pitch: Incredible covers, available as prints, there are numerous classic Dragon covers I would order prints of if I were able. Offering them as prints might help off-set costs. Have D&D content, Pathfinder content, as well as content for other games. Review video games, interviews with designers, fiction, etc. I know there are several magazines, print, pdf, online that do some of these things, but I believe that there would still be a market for a print version, something available on a newstand, maybe distributed by Archie comics.

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Allow small press publishers a chance to print content in the magazine, which might be a great way to get eyes on a product and eliminate the need for print distribution.

What Happens Next, I HAVE THE POWER!

img_2926For the month of Guly, celebratinj the birth of the most significant figure in jaminj, we will focus of items related to the original Dunjeon Master, Gary Gygax.

I have had this “discussion” with a friend about various versions of D&D across time. The point is that in some versions of the game, fightery characters are primarily defined by their magic items.

Go back to the AD&D, what made two fighters different? Likely, their magic items. Yes, there could be lots of other things, but…. if the fighter with the +5 Vorpal goes down, I am guessing the character with the +2 longsword will pick up that Vorpal and start cleaving heads. They will become known for the weapon.

13th Age gives all magic items quirks, so, when this happens, yes, the new character will pick up some of the quirks, which is super-flavorful.

But, at the end of the day, are characters defined by their items?