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,