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Showing posts from January, 2012

Rumors of My Site's Disappearance Are Greatly Exaggerated

As the title says: rumors of my website's disappearance are greatly exaggerated.





I got a couple e-mails and messages lately asking what happened to my D&D resources site. 

Oops.

I shuffled some things around when I bought the elflair.com domain, and forgot to create a redirect.

http://www.grey-elf.com/ now goes to my D&D page.  If you go to http://www.grey-elf.com/dnd/ you will now be redirected to the current proper URL.

Sorry for any confusion, folks!  My bad!

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons - Part 33

PLACEMENT OF MONETARY TREASURE 

This section is of general interest for almost every DM, though as I said in my last posting, much of what is here is common-sense and even has been covered in more detail in other areas.  It talks about the need for the DM to keep in mind the economy of his milieu, tying into the believability aspect that has been previously discussed.  The general idea is that of course the acquisition of treasure and wealth is of primary concern to the players and characters in a campaign, but as they rack up more--especially if they start throwing around gold and gems (or even platinum) like candy, it's going to effect the economy of the region.  Prices are going to go up, as the basic laws of supply and demand kick in--the more money there is in a region, the higher inflation goes.

The problem here is that this has a negative effect on the local populace. The PCs are throwing money around willy-nilly, causing prices to skyrocket, but the poor are still the poor…

AD&D: Regarding the Reprints

REGARDING THE REPRINTS

Yes, I know I'm late to the party on this, but I'd like to address the reprints of the first edition DMG, PHB, and Monster Manuals. My own personal feeling is that everyone in the old school community should be preparing to buy these when they come out.  I should've expected the bitter whining that has erupted in some areas (though thankfully, it seems, a vocal minority) from over-entitled gamers about this: Yes, you can get them for FAR cheaper on ebay.  But you know what sellers on ebay don't have?  Modern printing costs, overhead, warehousing, and distribution costs. The reason to buy these is obviously not because they're cheap.  You should buy them to support the effort. Show WotC that this was indeed a good idea; that the audience is here and we are willing to buy our game again, should it come back into print.

And seriously, the costs aren't all that out of line with other gaming books of similar size.  Maybe a bit high…

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Part 32

MONSTER POPULATIONS AND PLACEMENT

This section, and the few that follow, are actually a bit disappointing; though there are a few gems to be found (and I will address them) the sections largely consist of Gygax rambling on at length about the proper use of monsters, money, and magic in your campaign.  The reason the sections are disappointing is because even for a new DM, most of the advice given herein is common sense, though in today's landscape, some of it is actually worth mentioning.  That is, we now live in a society where "gamers" are commonly thought of as people who play WoW or are PS3/X-Box junkies, not tabletop RPGers. 

In such a world, it is, in fact, important to note that in a believable fantasy world, monsters don't re-spawn.

What is perhaps incredible is that Gygax thought to mention this back in 1979, decades before the fantasy CRPG phenomenon was to erupt.

Also of interest is Gygax's assertion that the random monster encounter tables are not mea…

Index to an Exegesis on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

I had a request over at the OD&D forums to put up an index of sorts to my "Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" threads, as it was hard to read them in sequence, the poster said, using the tag search.  So here it is--all the posts in sequence.  I didn't take the time to list the contents of each one, as the more time I take on this is more time taken away from new AD&D blogs, and nobody wants that.  These are, however, in sequence as they appear in the AD&D DMG, each blog covering a couple of sections, with "sections" defined as those bits of text that fall beneath headers that are in bolded caps in the book...hopefully that makes sense.
So, here you go.  I'll try to keep this a living index as I add new sections to the series, so if you keep this post bookmarked you should always have the most up-to-date listing.

Oh, also, these will not open in a new window, so you may want to right click and "open in new window/tab/whatever." …

Age of Conan: Session Eighteen

Last session we played saw the heroes make it back to King Cneph Coalhair's ringfort with the horn in hand.  As they made their way to his throne room, they were ambushed by Vanir raiders who had infiltrated the fort.  These stole the horn and took off running.  The PCs gave chase, eventually capturing the thief just as he made it over the walls and outside.  They had the horn in hand, only to discover themselves face to face with a small Vanir army who had come to challenge the fort for the horn.

Trapped outside, a few of the PCs fought valiantly as King Coalhair's men hacked and slashed their way to the rescue.  In the end, the Vanir were sent running and the horn presented to Coalhair.

The next day, however, grave news came to the fort: Rorik Hodderson, one of the Vanir leaders, had captured Irda, a revered holy woman of Ymir who was said to be gifted with prophecy, and was threatening her death if the Aesir did not turn over the horn. Knowing full well that Rorik had seale…

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Part 31

THE TOWN AND CITY SOCIAL STRUCTURE

For all of Gygax's talk in the previous section about all of the different types of ruling bodies that are possible in a fantasy milieu, he kind of falls apart in this section with a fairly rigid description of what the social structure of a city looks like. The structure listed consists, as one might expect, of three strata: Upper, Middle, and Lower Class.  The Upper Class consists of nobles, gentlemen, wealthy murchant and important guildmasters.  These are the lawmakers and executives, such as the mayor, burgomaster, or magistrate.  The Middle Class is drawn from merchants and guildmasters, as well as master artisans. This class provides lesser officials, such as aldermen and burghers.  The lower class is the peasants, tradesmen, journeyman, and laborers, the common council and administrators, petty officials such as councilors who may advise and handle basic administrative duties, but not wield any real temporal power.

The section goes on to …

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Part 30

SOCIAL CLASS IN ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
One of the most interesting things about reading the Dungeon Master's Guide, in my opinion, is that so much of it constitutes essays on topics of interest--this isn't just a book of advice and rules; it's a book of themes, essays, and justifications.  While I don't always agree with Gygax's points, he makes them effectively and they are darned fun to read.

This section begins with a discussion about why AD&D does not contain lists of tables for random determination of social rank, nor rules for adjudicating such. This is an issue that would to some degree change as AD&D went on (Oriental Adventures, for example, has extensive rules on social standing), but we'll deal with that as we get to later books and discuss the shift in philosophy. In this case, the essay is quite convincing and one that I buy into entirely.  I have never felt the need to determine random social background in my games.  I've had …

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Part 29

I'm kind of excited about this...my first NEW "reading AD&D" post in about four years.

To recap: We're through the Combat chapter of the DMG: specifically, up to page 87.  That's right, folks: we're on Part 29, and only up to page 87.  There's a looooooong way to go before we get through the DMG and move into the PHB.

So let's dive in, shall we?

THE CAMPAIGN

This section begins with some incredibly grandiose claims about what it takes to be an AD&D DM.  It says that being a DM will "require the use of all of your skill, put a strain on your imagination, bring your creativity to the fore, test your patience, and exhaust your free time."

With such requisites for DMing in place, it's a wonder anyone ever became one!  Certainly I couldn't run a game if it exhausted all my free time and used all my skill. Indeed, I suspect many of the DMs out there, be they old or new-school, don't spend every last scrap of free time working on…

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Part 28

EFFECTS OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL

These rules work. Their one flaw, perhaps, is in assuming that intoxicated = intoxicated. Any high school kid knows that someone baked on weed behaves differently than the same guy blasted on liquor. But as a quick and dirty covering of players whose characters drink too much, they're just dandy and functional.

I do get a kick out of the old "Get him coffee" myth that they bring into play, wherein stimulants can sober you up faster. I also like the idea of "strong" stimulants costing you permanent Con loss.

I keep thinking of the scene in Back to the Future III where they make "wake up juice" for Doc Brown.

INSANITY

Okay. Pet peeve time.

Mr. Gygax: SCHIZOPHRENIA IS NOT, AND NEVER HAS BEEN, DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER. IT'S NOT EVEN SIMILAR. When AD&D was written DID was called Multiple Personality Disorder, or MPD. It was first diagnosed in the 19th century. I have no idea where this all-too-common misperception …

Well, well, well, let's see, what's in the news today? Nothing of importance, I'm sure.

Oh, wait.

I guess there's this: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2012/01/sowhat-would-we-like-to-talk-about.html 

It's already been addressed ad infinitum all over the blogosphere: the announcement of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. Needless to say, like half the old school community, I signed up for the open playtest. I'll give it a shot. As much as I abhor 4th edition, it wasn't enough to make me swear off Wizards in disgust or anything. If anything, I've been waiting for them to decide it was time to try again.

My only concern is this: I wonder if they have any idea at all what kind of headache to which they are opening themselves? WotC has been the big dog in the pound for so long that they've been kind of locked in a bubble. Their decisions over the past decade or so have held an increasingly strong scent of "corporate," and they've been largely immune to what's going on in the industry, the trends, the thoughts and opinions of commo…

Who wants a free short story?

Head over to my other blog, The Whole Wide World, for a short story I'm giving away that will serve as a beginning to book 2 of a series I'm currently writing (the story stands on its own, however--no background needed).

While you're there, don't forget to follow the blog!  I will be using that one to promote my fiction writing.