hradzka: (wonder woman 2)
D&D went well tonight. We killed a metric buttload of undead as well as our first dragon. Something highly unusual happened during play. My group has six PCs. One of our players couldn't make it, so there were five of us. At one point, we all made a 1d20 roll in turn. I rolled first. I got a one. The guy next to me also got a one. Then Denise got a one. Then Ash got a one. Then we all turned and stared at Fred, the last guy to roll. He got... no, not a one -- eleven. Two ones, next to each other.

I have never seen anything like that happen. We all boggled.

This was also the evening where we made (yet again) our mistake of trusting NPCs. A nice old woman throwing garbage into a chasm turned out to be a howling hag (like a banshee) who was feeding chopped-up zombie parts to her pet young dragon. Our mistake was announcing our presence, and talking to her. As Ash put it, "Our mistake is treating this like a real world, and treating the people like anything other than talking meat nuggets with experience."
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
So, the first big D&D campaign we ran ended last night. We fought the big bad guy, foiled his ritual to unleash an alien dimension on the game world, and were getting ready to run out before the building did the traditional implosion. Except guess who got sucked into the dimensional portal? ME. Apparently, if this happens the module says you are officially supposed die. But the party had no time to escape and so charged in after me, presenting our DM with the choice of a Total Party Kill or giving us an adventure in another dimension. Which is par for the course for how we play. We're pretty much The Gang That Couldn't Roll Straight. If things can go wrong, we will figure out a way to make it worse than the DM has anticipated.

My favorite example involving me: We hear faint goblin voices on the other side of a closed door. This, we figure, must be enemy barracks. It seems like a natural for a surprise round. So Ash and I, who play dwarf cousins -- he's a fighter, I'm a cleric -- kick open the door and burst in with loud cries of "The dwarves are upon you!"

...and find ourselves facing an empty fifty-foot corridor, down which we have to run in order to get up to fighting range before the enemies we've just alerted have time to grab their longbows and turn us into pincushions. Whoops.
hradzka: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing." (sledge hammer!)
As you may or may not have heard, there's a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons out -- the fourth. As ever, fans hate and fear change, and the new D&D edition has been the subject of a fair amount of fannish controversy. Some people like the new rules. Some hate 'em. One of the biggest controversies is the lack of Vancian magic -- in the classic rules, as in some of Jack Vance's stuff, your character had to learn a spell anew after every time you used it. You got X number of spells a day, depending on your level, and if you cast everything you had in the first encounter then encounter #2 found you shit out of luck. In the new rules, which seem to be heavily inspired by MMORPGs (and probably would translate really easily to one), you have at-will, encounter, and daily powers/prayers/spells/what have you. The at-will ones you can use over and over again, any time you want; the encounter ones you get one, maybe two uses per encounter (i.e., per roleplaying scene or combat); the daily ones you get to use once per day. You recharge by resting, so if you have a short rest after a battle your powers all pop up again; a long rest, about six hours, gets your daily powers back. This makes intuitive sense, and I actually like it. It certainly makes things more fun at first level, said this dwarf cleric who cast the ever-loving *shit* out of Lance of Faith.

Ash and Denise had started a game previously, and I joined it. I had a great time. My backstory for joining the game was that I was Ash's character's cousin, which mostly meant that I made aggravated noises at his fighter a lot in-character. "Yes, just ignore the smell. My cousin accessorizes by strapping severed kobold heads to his waist. He claims it's the latest fashion, but I wouldn't look to him if you want a trendsetter." Other characters at the table: an eladrin wizard, a human warlock, and a halfling rogue. That last, Denise's character, turned out to be the surprise of the evening. When time came for battle, our fighter and cleric traded blows with annoyingly sturdy kobolds, with Ash's fighter missing most of the time, and our wizard and sorcerer causing minor injuries to the enemy from the periphery. Denise's rogue, meanwhile, would get behind enemies and backstab them, which in game terms played out as if she'd had a chainsaw. Most of our kills were due to her.

I like the new rules so far. They make combat pretty streamlined. The weirdest thing, to me, is the new saving throw system. Used to be you would make a saving throw for reflex, for will, what have you. Not any more. Now the attack roll targets your relevant defense, and if it hits you, you roll a saving throw every round, but your Fortitude or Will or whatever doesn't matter; you're just trying to get a ten or better to throw it off. That seems really odd to me.

I've been wanting to play D&D again for a while. Shamus Young's brilliant DM of the Rings, along with his accounts of D&D campaigns, got me thinking about it -- and hey, now there's a fresh new edition! If you haven't played D&D in a while, give it a look.


hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)

November 2014



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The collected poems from my descent into madness year spent writing daily poems are now available from Lulu as the cheapest 330-page book they would let me make ($16.20). If that's too pricey, you can also get it from Lulu as a free download, or just click on the "a poem every day" tag to read them here. But if you did buy one, that'd be awesome.

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