March 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Greetings Geeks!

This session marks the start of my new home brew campaign. With everyone rolling up new characters for use in the current Next Playtest, I thought it fitting to create a new world and start everything from scratch. I spent the past month reading the 3.5e rerelease DMG, the 4e DMG and DMG2, many DRAGON articles and a ton of great articles from Dungeon’s Master and Gnome Stew. Having felt that I failed pretty hard during my 4e DM attempt I wanted to be proactive and more professional in my approach to the Next game. Playing outside my normal gaming group gives me a new perspective.The roleplaying experience I have been gaining every week from my 2e game has opened up a whole new world for me, and I hope to apply this to give my PCs the freedom their characters deserve as denizens of my world. Too often in the past I had railroaded them into very linear progression, allowing very little character or plot development. This will change.

A few months ago we did a short 1 shot Next game and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. I took that feedback and have applied it to my large scale campaign world.  From the ground up I have been trying to ensure each player gets what they like and want from my game.  Previously I had incorrectly assumed that each player wanted the same thing out of our D&D game as I did. My research has shown me that people’s reasons for playing are very different, and it helped me to identify which types of players my gaming group consists of. To allow for my own misjudgments and in the case that my players might evolve, I want to use a very open and important feedback program. It is important to me to know how my players feel I am doing, so that I can make the necessary adjustments and keep them wanting to show up and play.

In order to help my players feel attached to this new world, I found a fun way to create a world and a history that everyone can have a say in. Dawn of Worlds is a free game, available in PDF that allows players to assume the role of gods building a world. From raising mountains and growing forests to founding civilizations and setting them at war with each other, this game has everything you need for a 1 shot world building experience. By the time you are finished playing, the world has a history as rich as the player’s imaginations, with events and key historical figures that each person knows. This worked very well, though it took us a little longer than the ~6 hours it was supposed to.

Prior to the first session, each player had already created their characters and backgrounds. I had the joy of weaving their stories together and creating the first adventure hook that I hoped would catch each player and give them a reason to be working together. It worked wonderfully.

The first session went smoothly, although I did forget I made a few of the charts I had (like random NPC and town names). The group didn’t get through as much as I had thought, but it was hard to judge just how long the RP would take.

They left Smalltree, a village on the border of King Lamos’ land and a few days north of the Unclaimed Lands. The slaughter of several guards at the watchtower led the adventurers to investigate. They ended up locked in the dungeon of a man they believe to be a werewolf.

The second session continued from where the first left off, and the group still isn’t sure if the prisoner they were locked up with was the werewolf, or if the man whom caught (and subsequently released) them was. Daug took ill and Sheldon agreed to be the man’s prisoner (because he was bit by the other prisoner while freeing him) and the rest of the group went back to Smalltree to try to locate some wolfsbane to use in a potion that might help save Daug.

Even after two short sessions, I am already very pleased with the direction the game is taking. The group has really taken to the roleplay, although it seems each of their characters is being very secretive I think they will come around after a few more games.

Stay tuned to keep up with the NEXT playtest!




Dawn of (the) World(s)

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Greetings Geeks!

I am aware that it has been several weeks since I had anything new to post about, but there has not been any D&D going on in my life. Let me rephrase that, I have not been playing in my normal campaigns. The 2e game has been on hold while our DM went on vacation, failed his fortitude save vs. illness and then fell off the (electric) grid for a few days. We have not played at all this month, and this was to be the last month before the “Rybeth” game went on hiatus and we started playing in “The Sundered Realm.” It seems like the unfortunate events of February here have pushed back the alternate  (new for me) game until near the end of March as we get to the desired stopping point. The character I have rolled up for the alternate game is nearly the polar opposite of Brandis, a human lawful good cleric named Lysander. The Tuesday (2e) group also switches DMs when they switch worlds (in 6 month intervals), in much the same way Hooper and I have decided to do with the Friday night group. While I have been playing with this group since July of last year, I am still the “new guy” and I am feeling a little nervous about jumping into the middle of another adventure with a brand new and untested character. By this time in April I should have a few sessions under my belt and I will keep you informed as to what has been going on.

Enough about the old edition, lets talk about the NEXT edition. Everyone in the Friday group has agreed to pile all of our 4e rule books, supplements and character sheets in a big pile, soak them with gasoline and light in on fire, as we cackle in the moonlight at our freedom. OK so it wasn’t that bad, but we have all pretty much had our fill of the way things tend to drag out in 4e and the heavy focus placed upon the (seemingly endless) combat encounters. We decided to go full on into playtesting the next iteration of D&D. Since we wrapped up Dark Sun (for now) and I am taking over in the DM chair, I decided new edition, new home-brew world. I wanted to put all of our past character and player biases, rivalries and such behind us and begin anew in a new land with new rules and new dangers and treasures.

I began to create the world and I put an embarrassing amount of time into trying to map out the best world and to give it a color and flesh it out. Much of the research and blog posts from other DMs I read suggested that one way to help the players be more a part of the world (and thus be more inclined to want to play in it, and to roleplay with/about it) was to have them aid in the world building. I brainstormed several ways to do this, like giving each player their own piece to populate and dream up or some such. I could not find one way that I really liked, and I didn’t want to put too much pressure on everyone to create a really good corner of the world, because I knew our game would start off small and I didn’t want to alienate one player’s part of the world and have them think I disliked it. Then I found a stumbled into a forum, and followed a link to a website that send me to a great way to craft a world that had not even crossed my mind-make it a roleplaying game!

Enter Dawn of Worlds!

Dawn of Worlds is a free game, available in PDF that allows players to assume the role of gods building a world. From raising mountains and growing forests to founding civilizations and setting them at war with each other, this game has everything you need for a 1 shot world building experience. By the time you are finished playing, the world has a history as rich as the player’s imaginations, with events and key historical figures that each person knows. The game ran a little bit longer than the instructions said it would (~6hrs) but the longest time was spent looking up the cost of the abilities, and had I thought ahead and printed a sheet out for everyone to have, we could have shaved at least an hour off. We stopped at the end of the 2nd age (the age of races) and were planning on doing another entire session of 3rd age (the age of intrigue/relationships) however some players were not able to make the 2nd week, so those that did show up instead rolled the stats and filled out their character sheets. Tomorrow (or today if you are reading this on Friday) those that missed last week will gather to roll up their characters and depending on who can make it next week, we may give the 3rd age another go, or we might commence the campaign.

Either way, look for a campaign commencement post in the weeks following, both for NEXT Playtesting and for “The Sundered Realm.”  Thank you for reading!


Kyio’lul’s Journal: Son of a Lich

February 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Greetings Geeks!

By the time we finished the last session it had been about 6 months since we started Dark Sun.  We ran into some issues during Paragon Tier play, namely the length of the encounters and trying to keep the game moving while still having challenging combats. Our DM did his best to keep things moving, but, finding a nice plot exit looming ahead, we decided to switch DMs for the next 6 months or so and give the D&D Playtest a chance. So this session is the last journal entry you’ll likely see for a while.

The party, having split up during the last session left Kyio’lul behind and headed forward on their own, into unknown danger. They found the city of Freedom and met with the leader, enjoying a peaceful night waiting for Kyio to turn up. During the night, the raiders attacked and the party split up further to defend the walls. The trainees (minions) were sent off to hold the gate, while the PCs fought to push back the flood of raiders coming through the breech in the palisade. This made for an interesting few encounters as the DM let Heri’s player and myself battle as monsters against the party members. We were both sad that we were unable to kill a single party member, try as we might. Kyio’lul and Heri arrived midway during the final battle against Athos in time to help save the day and share in the fate of the rest of the group.


Year of the Sky’s Radiance, in the 191st King’s Age
High Sun
9th Day of Sorrow (323)


The last few days have been extremely exciting and dangerous to say the least. The party grew restless with my slow pace and insistance to enjoy each meal and left me behind in the desert. This bothered me not, as it made Raeten reporting back to me that much eaiser. Finding the city of Kleb in ruins, having been attacked by raiders,  Raeten slipped past the party and returned to me with the news. His intel suggested that the raiding party would attack Freedom next, so I sent him ahead to scout the raiders and gather intel. Meanwhile, I waited for Heri to catch up and forced my will upon the captured tembo.

Heri caught up with me the next day and we rode the tembo to make better time. Raeten returned saying the raiders were on the move and were being led by none other than Escy’s former master, Athos. We arrived in the midst of battle, fighting our way through atop the mighty and ferocious beast as the party was doing battle with the man himself. We arrived in a very dramatic fashion, swooping in to the rescue as our guild was on the defensive. But he was no man, having made some sort of necromantic deal with one of the sorcerer kings he was turned into a lichling, and we had to slay him twice before he was finished. I wish I could tell you more of the battle, but everything happened so fast, and what happened afterward really did a number on my head.

The second time we slew him (which I found out afterward was the third time), a talisman he was wearing around his neck floated above his body and exploded with a blinding flash, rendering us all unconscious.  We awoke in a strange land, green with thick living grass. Several dwarves came upon us, speaking a strange dialect of common that even I had a hard time understanding. Having watched us seemingly appear out of thin air, they were apprehensive to say the least. Uncertain as to our situation and our location, we thought it best to play nice until we had better information. We surrendered (most) of our weapons and allowed them to take us as “honored guests,” or as I call them, prisoners.

We have been locked in the dungeon for over a day, I thought I would take the time to catch you up on what has happened. In the event that I do not survive and that through some cosmic turn of events this journal shall find you I wanted you to know that I have not stopped thinking about you since I last saw you. If I survive this place and somehow manage to find my way home, I will use every ounce of energy and call in every favor to find you and we can finally live the life that I have wanted for us.

Forever yours,


Drinking With the Dwarves: A Retrospective

February 2, 2013 Leave a comment

Greetings Geeks!

There comes a time when many adventuring parties become too big for their britches.  It may be because they have many powerful friends who owe them favors. It may be because they are becoming higher level character. Or it may be because they are so thick headed they think nothing can harm them. When this happens sometimes the DM serves up a heaping slice of Humble Pie in the hopes that the PCs will eat it and learn a lesson. This is also a great way to promote teamwork, which our group was totally lacking.

Brandis and his uncle talked for a short time, and it was clear that the grey elf looked down upon his great nephew.  Aside from Bael’ruil’s personal feelings, he could not deny that the sword of their family had chosen Brandis to wield it. Though tales of Brandis’ grandfather’s exploits, the two were able to discern some of the properties of the blade before Bael’ruil took his leave of Broadfort. The group used the time to train new skills and after 4 weeks Pezz and Brandis were finished.

Pezz mentioned to Brandis about standing for him at his wedding ceremony once Kori had finished her training, and he agreed.  When the training was complete and as the day of the quiet ceremony approached, drama struck. It seemed as though Pezz did not want Dwain or Wally at his wedding. So after spending several days arguing over it, powerful beings began to show up for the wedding. Dragons, former adventuring party members, powerful wizards, and family members. Before they knew it the ‘quiet’ event had turned into the party of the decade. And the drama had only heightened – and someone was being a total bridezilla. I am of course referring to Pezz. He would not relent on allowing Dwain to be present during the ceremony. After what seemed like forever, Auri (Keth’s dragon lover) used her powers to teleport Pezz and Kori to a sacred grove to be married next to a tree. It must have been a special tree because they were happy about it, and Pezz’s goddess Vandria showed up to give them a high-five. Since everyone had showed up anyways, Brandth thew a hell of a reception, with only the best.

During the reception, Brandis was able to glad-hand some of the VIPs and from Kori’s grandfather (who is a dwarf) he gleaned more information about his family sword. It is a runeblade, and each wielder has added their own power to the weapon in the form of runes along the blade. After telling him what the first two did, Twoedge (Kori’s grandpa) told Brandis to think about Dwain, and when he did his image changed to resemble his stout friend. Everyone had a good laugh and then Twoedge and Dwain decided he should have some of what they were drinking. So Brandis took a swig and blacked out nearly immediately. When he awoke, the night was much later. There was still time to dance with the ladies, and eventually find one to take him and a lady friend home.

The next morning he rose late and had to rush off having been summoned to meet with the group for an exercise. They had trouble locating him since he was not in his room, and he had to rush out the door almost without his breakfast. The group met, fighting gear ready, with Twoedge and the whos-who of the reception guests. Twoedge led them out of town to a field and they faced off against him.. and his two iron golems. The battle was hard fought. Twoedge’s massive hammer held many secrets and at one point he smacked Pezz so hard with it the became a Pezz-A-Pult and went flying off into the air. Dwain had his hands full with one of the golems, and Keth had moments before arrived to help Brandis deal with his. Early in the fight a golem had disappeared beneath the ground and reappeared enough to grab Brandis’ feet and begin dragging him all over the battlefield. Having managed to chop one of the arms enough that it had to stop, he was about to be freed with Keth’s help but at the sight of Pezz flying through the air everyone seemed to forget what they were doing. Wally tried to use his telekinesis to stop him from falling, but failed. Dwain created a 60ft high pillar of rock for Pezz to land on when he came back down, and Keth took flight and heroically caught him mid-air. It was like watching Superman and Lois Lane flying over metropolis- so romantic.

Meanwhile, Brandis is still being drug all over the battlefield by his ankles. After a few more rounds and some nasty magic tricks from Twoedge, he ended the lesson. After the lecture on how we need to work together if we hope to succeed in the tasks that lie ahead of us, we were stunned and speechless. It was clear to everyone except Pezz that this lesson was meant for him, and that theywere only here to prove his point. Pezz didn’t get it, because after Twoedge left he went on to berate and judge everyone’s performance and past transgressions blaming everyone except himself. Dwain left almost as soon as he started. When Pezz’s lecture was over, he and Kori went off back to town and Brandis has the first fun with his new blade. Turning his form to that of Pezz he stood up and began to berate the remaining two in joking manner, playing into the obvious fact that Pezz missed the point of the lesson and the lecture by Twoedge, having an ego too large to allow anything else to enter his thick skull. Afterwards, Keth looked dejected and stalked off into the woods.

How will this defeat and Pezz’s obliviousness to his own problems affect the future of the group? Will he ever get his head out of his ass long enough to look around and realize how huge of a jerk he is? What exactly is it that Kori sees in him?

Check back next time for the answers to questions like these!

Thanks for reading,


Kyio’lul’s Journal: Changing Direction

January 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Greetings Geeks!

One of the best things about being a player is that you always hold the most powerful weapon. I’m not talking about a sword, magic wand, or a wondrous potion, I am talking about the weapon of choice. Fresh off rescuing a short-handed Escy the previous session, we had found a probably location for a magical replacement hand. However, as we had recently formed our own thieves’ guild, Heri had other plans for us Prior to being in charge of a growing network of informants and thieves it might have been logical for us to risk our lives for the betterment of one of our small company. While Escy’s handiness is indeed important and an asset to the guild, it is something the benefits a singular person.  We took a vote, and ended up doing something completely different.


Year of the Sky’s Radiance, in the 191st King’s Age
High Sun
6th Day of Sorrow (320)


It was nice while it lasted, but this troubadour must keep on keeping on. We decided yesterday that we would venture out into the wastes and seek out a rare and powerful herb that grows to the north. With the root of this herb I can create magical communication devices that each of top members of the guild can use to communicate with each other. Dock also uses dried something or other’s from this same plant in one of his potions, so Heri decided that our next mission was to acquire these items.  I personally feel like he is trying to teach Escy a lesson, as the crushing blow to his ego was quite noticeable as he slipped into a homicidal rage during our rescue. Either way, I sent my star pupil, Raeten a day early so that he can scout and report back to me what is going on. He is extremely skilled, and while he insists we’ve never met, there is something about him that is very familiar. It might be that he is an elf like us, and that after being around so many humans for so long I have forgotten what it is to have a brother in my company.  Sometimes I get the strange feeling he is watching me when my back is turned, but when I turn to look it is all in my head.

Without our fearless leader, we set forth yesterday morning in a company of 10. Thalia, Esclavier, and Dock each brought one trainee, and Khal Tak brought two. My Traveler’s Camouflage and Thalia’s swift steps helped keep us from falling behind due to the large party size. The first night we spent inside a Tiny Hut I conjured, and were attacked by a lone tembo.  We managed to capture it within Dock’s haversack, and after consulting mystical sages I have determined what I need to do to be able to mount and ride this fearsome beast into battle.

I struck up a conversation with Escy’s tag-along, Rex, and found out that there exists an underground brawler’s club in Tyr city. Freed slaves and tough guys fight in this secret order for respect and spare coin. Apparently Escy was a frequent visitor and champion, although I would be shocked if a former gladiator couldn’t hold his own against former merchants and commoners. The days on the open sands run together, and before I knew it we were into the third day of our journey. The sands turn rocky as we traversed the wastes and in one particular outcropping we were ambushed by several gith. Whatever successes they had ambushing travelers here was not apparent, because we were unable to locate anything of value or an indication of where they may have come from.

I am set to meet with my pupil when we arrive at Kleb tomorrow and he should have a handle on what is going on in town. There I will find us an excuse to wait for Heri to arrive as I sent Raeten ahead to scout Freedom.

Spending these long, sweltering days with nothing but sun and sky above my head make me long for your company. After we finish this business and the guild is set in its affairs, I am going to take some time off to find you.


A Family Affair

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Greetings Geeks!

It isn’t always wise to leave treasures alone with people you barely know, even if they are employed by the same guy as you. Evil forces are constantly working against us, and bringing back the bowl is no exception.

While Brandis was out at a seedy bathhouse enjoying some intimate comforts, Dwain and Wally were nearly killed in their “upscale” bathhouse. Two of the dark one’s minions caught them with their pants off (literally). The two ladies massaging their backs were branded with evil, and if not for the intervention of some chick who has been searching for Waldo, they would have had nice red smiles on their throats. Meanwhile, Keth and the badger were caught off guard when more assassins stormed Arlentis’ compound. Piemar lived, but Arlentis was slain by Dayton, a mole working in his organization. After their close call with death, Wally and Dwain went back to Arlentis’ to await the city guard for questioning and in case others were after them. They arrived to find a bloody mess. Dwain resurrected Arlentis with a black rose petal, and they found out what happened. Keth returned with the bowl, having hunted down and caught Dayton.  The captain of the guard showed up with several armed men and talked with Dwain, Keth and Wally about what happened. Keth left to hunt down Brandis, who was only a block away when Keth found him. After explaining what happened, they returned to the compound.

Wally and Brandis borrowed some books from Arlentis’ library, but Brandis ditched his before leaving, allowing Keth the opportunity to pick it up. Having riffled Keth, Dwain and the guard captain’s feathers, Brandis had a jelly sandwich and they left for the safety of the boat.  Pezz and Kori were already on board from the night before, and Shaffar met us at the docks. We said our goodbyes and wished him farewell. Keth flew out to the boat, showing off as usual. Brandis asked Wally to levitate him out, but as he was just over the water, Dwain used hold person on Wally and pushed him into the water for unethically borrowing Arlentis’ books. Unable to swim, Brandis was falling down and down, but a blue figure swooped in and saved him. It was the blue devil (he also saved Wally). Confused and sad he couldn’t locate him, Brandis took the dinghy out to the big boat.

After final perperation, we set sail on our journey back to Ebou’Dar.  After three uneventful days, we were awakened by a ruckus on deck. The blue devil had stowed away on board and they were about to pepper him with crossbow bolts. “Don’t shoot, this man saved my life!” Brandis shouted to the crew. After a tense negotiation period they laid down their arms and the captain, Kurt (the blue man) and Brandis had a private conversation. The captain agreed to allow Kurt to stay on as long as he could perform duties aboard the ship. Two days after this, we glimpsed the Fingers off the port side and saw a large winged creature flying over them off in the distance.

On the 7th day, another uproar woke me from my slumbers. I made it out to the deck to see Keth and the crew drawn down on Kryton. “Don’t shoot, this man saved my life!” Brandis shouted, to which Kryton replied “Not yet, but soon.”  “Don’t shoot, this man WILL save my life!” Brandis tried agian. Soon the situation was diffused once again, as the near-god chatted with the captain of the perils ahead. A fleet of hostile ships lay between the Wave Dancer and Ebou’Dar. Kryton will use his magic to spirit us past and help our party make up some lost time.  The captain and crew agreed and he created a huge portal that the boat sailed through. When we made the other side we could see land off in the distance.  Kryton told Brandis after turning the Bowl in, he was to “go home.” Meaning back to Broadfort.  Afterwards we ere to hunt down Koln (the white wolf) and aid him.

At Ebou’Dar we were escorted by the Sea Folk to a meeting with Raan’s ladies. It would seem the Sea Folk also want the Bowl of the Wind, but they were good on their word and escorted us to the meeting unmolested. After the handoff, we split double time and met back at Crocodile Josiah’s. Unfortunately he wasn’t in, but the mounts and our custom orders were all ready. BB was as impatient as ever and decided he was going to ride out of town today – rather than wait until the next day when Kryton would teleport us. So Kryton pointed his finger at him and BAM he disappeared. Brandis fell to the ground and thanked him ever so much for getting rid of Pezz. He pointed at Kori who had looked back at Kryton and was waiting- BAM she was gone. “Answered prayers, you must be a god!” Brandis said, but suddenly BAM he found himself standing next to his horse (who he had left in the stables, GG Kryton) in the middle of Broadfort. Pissed that he missed the chance to drink at the Gilded Goose in Ebou’Dar, he hitched the horse up and went to the nearest inn. Some of the patrons recognized him, and he spend the night drinking and retelling the stories of his adventures. The dwarven smith came in, happy to see Brandis, he started the stories over again, drinking more and more.

When he awoke the next day, Dwain and the other dwarf were standing over him, commenting on how he was “a work in progress.” Dwain offered him a drink from the always ice cold bottle. After taking it he immediately passed back out again. The smith began work on a dwarven hangover remedy that they then force fed to his unconscious self. After being pleased it did not kill him, Brandis’ eyes were suddenly wide open and he sat up. Side effects the dwarf said, he’s still asleep.

They carried him to the big meeting with Brandth, Kryton and a grey elf that Brandis remembered from his dream. His great uncle Bael’ruil had come to him in a last ditch effort. Someone has been hunting down their kin to stop anyone from wielding his grandfather’s magic sword. Bael’ruil was not expecting Brandis to be able to wield the power of this sword, and although he scorched his hand when he drew it from it’s scabbard, he was able to control its power.

How will the training go? Can my great uncle ever truly accept me as part of the family? Find out next time!

Thanks for reading,


ATOMS: The Silent Killer

January 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Are YOU afraid of ATOMS? If you aren’t then your life may be IN DANGER and you need to READ ON!!!
What do poison, bullets, piano wires, ninja stars, explosions, and deadly diseases all have in common? Each of these things is comprised solely from ATOMS. Without ATOMS we could solve all of the AMERICA- NO THE WORLD’s problems. If we start now and petition the government to BAN these “building blocks of death” we can make the world a safer place for our children.

You might be thinking that ATOMS aren’t that dangerous. YOU WOULD BE WRONG. Not only is everything dangerous in the world made up of ATOMS, splitting certain ATOMS creates NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS. You know what the A in A-BOMB stands for right? Yeah, you know it. It stands for ATOM.

The next time you see a tragic story on the news where people are injured or killed remember that ATOMS made up the instrument of chaos. Think about it.. Are you thinking? Using your brain? Your brain is made up on ATOMS too, and after all, isn’t the brain the most dangerous weapon of them all?

And now a few quick facts:

100% of dead babies were found to have ATOMS within their bodies (in fact, that same 100% were also found to have been made up complete of ATOMS).

95% of criminals are found to have been in possession of BRAINS, which we know are formed by complex relationships of ATOMS. (~5% margin of error)

61% of dogs in animal shelters are killed because they cannot find homes. They are killed with instruments made from ATOMS.

Certain ATOMS can escape from black holes.

Like this comment if you are scared to death of ATOMS and think the government should pass laws to BAN ATOMS!

Share and spread the word about the awesome destructive powers of ATOMS and the very real and very frightening danger they pose to the entire world.

Most of you will do nothing, because you are terrorists in league with the ATOMS.

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