Tags: d&d

Amethyst arrives for D&D5e

Over 5 years ago, I came across the setting Amethyst by Dias Ex Machina for D&D4e and spoke about it here: http://grandexperiment.livejournal.com/103300.html. Though I loved the setting, D&D4e's finely tuned system meant that it was not a great fit for me ultimately. As I said back then, I was keen to see if the setting would make it to a more flexible system like True20 or Savage Worlds. I even spent some time considering using the 3e version to convert to True20.

Following a KS a year or so ago, DEM did exactly that, opening up Amethyst to FATE, Savage Worlds, and finally D&D5e. Given my enthusiasm for Amethyst, I was willing to persevere with my lack of enthusiasm for the first two RPGs in order to play in the setting. However, with the release of the D&D5e version, I can now combine the setting I love with a system that I really like too. The marriage (mechanically at least) is still not perfect TBH but its good enough for me.

Here's my review of the book:

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There is also a trailer using art from the book:

Current RPG Projects

Without really trying my RPG calendar has filled up nicely with the following:

Mondays: I am continuing to play in Booby's Tyranny of Dragons for D&D, now into the second half. The GM has shown an interest in playing in one of the FFG Star Wars adventures once we are done.

Thursdays: Due to some anticipated changes, I am now running a short (12 sessions or so) campaign of Ryuutama. Once done, I hope to either run Mutant Year Zero or Godbound, or play in Urban Shadows, next.

Saturdays: I am also continuing to play in James' Tyranny of Dragons for D&D, but with a number of expected breaks this year, I am running Shadow of the Demon Lord when those breaks occur. The first is this Saturday.

Cons: For Buckets of Sand, I have Skyreach for Godbound ready to go, and Far Away Land for the younger crowd (using my 3, 2, 1, point system for scenario creation). I may also look to run Godbound at Not-D&D Con and even Kapcon, if it proves a success.

Family: With Imperial Assault behind us, I am planning on running Lost Mines of Phandelver for D&D for the family on the weekends.

Naga, Half-Orc Fighter

I just finished my run of Legacy of the Crystal Shard and will be playing in Tyranny of Dragons run by James. As always, we randomly rolled a bunch of our basic character information and I got a half-orc fighter. After I located a miniature I liked for her, this quickly developed into the fully developed of Naga - my attempt to celebrate the full glory and terror of motherhood :)

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My plan is for her to be 60% Fighter (for battlefield control and support), 35% Bard (for subtle divination and healing), and 5% Barbarian (for rage and going skyclad).

Busy Week Ahead

I have a rather exciting weekend ahead on the gaming front with:

Monday: D&D5e - playing
Tuesday: Urban Shadows - running (via Google Hangouts)
Thursday: Atlantis - running
Saturday: D&D5e - running

To be honest, its not ideal but its occurring despite the best laid plans. Fortunately, I am enthused for every single one of the games so it should be loads of fun.

Of particular note, I am excited to restart Atlantis for this year. I panic between every chapter, only to find the process I have adopted for the game, the RPG itself and the campaign to date prove more than sufficient to gather together something I feel really excited about in less than 30 minutes :) (OK, the chapter prep takes about a week, but sessions are only 30 minutes).

Excite! Excite!

Quite a lot to get excited about on the RPG front today. Tonight, Sam and I start playing in a new D&D5e campaign with a local RPGing group. As already posted, I am playing a Human Monk (with a splash of Fighter) and I am excited to see how he plays alongside Sam's Half Elf Wizard.

On other fronts, I have wrangled an Urban Shadows game via Google Hangouts. I am excited about trying out the game, but I am equally excited about the format. Hopefully, if it works out it will be another avenue for gaming with distant friends. Urban Shadows (and Apocalypse World games) seems well suited for the format as they have structure whilst being light, and the slower speed should aid the "play to see what happens" approach. First game is a week on Tuesday.

Kapcon and the start of 2015

I have been a bit quiet here recently. I took a decent break from RPGing over the Xmas break running one game of D&D5e and otherwise prepping for Kapcon. With that all behind me I can look ahead to 2015. This year will see a tightening of the RPGing belts I think as Sam is doing teachers college, which will eat up free time. Still things look promising, with a number of regular but not taxing gaming opportunities.

1. Atlantis: I am currently prepping for Chapter 3 of my Unbridled Blade campaign, which starts on 12 February. I had hoped to build up some enthusiasm in the break but instead I barely looked at this at all until after Kapcon. Fortunately, using Dungeon World style prep allows me to work on the chapter without much thought or effort until my enthusiasm kicks in proper. And that is exactly what is happened :)

The Chapter is now looking in good shape with lots of new elements and scenes (pirates! sieges!! dragons!!!) to satisfy my short attention span and a suitably S&S style storyline. Chapter 4 also has some vague shape already, so things are ticking along well. I can't wait to get started :)

2. D&D5e: My run of Legacy of the Crystal Shard continues. I think we will be through Act 1 next session, and I expect that the Interlude, Act 2 and Finale combined to take about the same length (5 sessions). That means that I will likely be running the campaign until August or so. Its fun and doesn't involve too much effort on my part, and the players seem to be really enjoying it.

I have found that even as streamlined as it is, it is a player orientated game. I am not sure I would want to run my own adventures for D&D5e.

On the playing front, Sam and I hooked up with a Kapiti group playing a D&D5e campaign. We will be playing together in that on a fortnightly basis. I am pretty excited about it and the group seems great. My character is very cool (see last entry) and I hope that the game will really scratch my itch for playing.

I may also take a stab at Lost Mines of Phandelver with the girls later this year.

3. Other: With Atlantis and the Kapiti D&D5e group providing fortnightly GM and player spots, we aren't looking at other RPGing opportunities, especially when you factor in Sam's teaching course. The Tabletop RPG Con scene in Wellington seems to exploded and I hope to take it easy at Kapcon next year.

Buckets of Sand is in March though, and I am keen to give Urban Shadows a spin. If it works well, it may be my Kapcon offering too. I will also have Icons there for the younger RPGers.

Dothrin "Faded" Throh

We have just joined a local D&D5e group and I had my first crack at making a D&D5e PC. The PC was loosely based on a desire to play a Monk and the story from the movie Lost Bladesman. However, I wanted to "westernise" it somewhat, rather than playing out a Shaolin monk style PC.

Mechanically, the PC is interesting to me. Though not optimal, the addition of Fighter 1 for his pre-Monk life actually dirtied up the concept nicely. Doss sort of takes the place of a mobile fighter, but also a battlefield controller. He seems like a cross between a rogue and a paladin, but unlike either of them.

Some of the interesting options include:
1. He is good with a bow, whilst being immune to most ranged attacks and able to move 80' into melee and attacking.
2. His default style is to dodge in combat and be offensive through pinning down opponents and using Opportunity Attacks.
3. With his Ki he can either do that and still have normal attacks or go purely on the offensive with flurries of attacks. These flurries can also move opponents, prevent them from taking Opportunity Attacks (allowing allies to move around), or knock them prone. Eventually he will be able to stun too.
4. He has decent HP but also has the ability to recover HP on both a 'per short rest' and 'per long rest' basis. He will soon be immune to disease, poison, charm and frightened, and eventually have good saves all around. This should make him robust against even the most difficult adversity.
5. He's capable of defending weaker member of the party such as spell casters and also use Ki and double jumping to move through congested battlefields to help beleaguered allies survive or escape to safer ground.

The full PC background, portrait and stats are under the cut.

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End of RPGing for 2014

With session three of Legacy of the Crystal Shard yesterday, that's a wrap for my RPGing for 2014. I still have a session four of Legacy on 28 December, a playtest of Cairn with the girls and other prep for Kapcon, but my substantive RPGing is sort of done until some time after Kapcon at the end of January.

2014 has been a golden year for my RPGing, made even better by being aware that it was so whilst it was happening. The main part was my return to GMing long term campaigns of my own creation. It is undoubtedly the most satisfying form of RPGing for me. Other parts were discovering my new favourite RPG (and likely to be so for a long time) and seeing my children take up the hobby.

Though I am looking forward having a break, I am not looking forward to it as much as I thought. My Atlantis prep really has cracked the right balance between reducing the effort and maximising the result. I am actually excited by chapters 3 and 4 which should take up 2/3rds of 2015. However, due to non-RPGing reasons a break is inevitable.

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I am keeping my options open, but I am excited to see what happens in 2015. I have the luxury of a solid core, combined with at least one new exciting addition and a return to playing.

Best RPGs of 2014

This is cross-posted in NZRAG.

So each year I put up a post to get a feel from Wellingtonians what RPGs published that year have been their favourite. Though this thread is aimed at RPGs published in 2014 only, please feel free to mention supplements or any other RPG you encountered this year that stood out.

Last year's thread is here: http://grandexperiment.livejournal.com/243831.html.

2013 was a simply amazing year with two new RPGs entering my Top 5. This year was almost as good and continues the trend since 2010. In addition to new RPGs, there was also a new edition of the hobby's granddaddy, D&D, which looks to achieve an excellent balance between broad appeal and focussed design. While KS continues to fuel new RPGs of high quality, this year also seemed to see the first wave of Kick Failures. Combined with backers growing more discerning, the KS surge seems to be ebbing to some extent.

My main success this year was actually running my top 2 RPGs from 2013. Atlantis is the first game since much venerated Exalted (and my having two daughters) that saw me return to running ran a long term campaign of my own creation; also replacing the long running Exalted game that I was playing at the same time. This culminated with Atlantis' 3rd and final KS that took place earlier this year. I took advantage of the opportunity to show appreciation by spending the most money I have ever spent in one go on an RPG. It felt good and justified to me why KS can be such a positive process.

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[D&D5e] Lost Mine of Phandelver complete

After a whirlwind 5 sessions, we finished Lost Mine of Phandelver last night. The scenario could have taken up to 8 sessions to complete but the PCs avoided the largest sidequest and had a knack of unerringly going straight to the objective/big bad in each other the dungeons (by using the wily old tactic of "going left").

The scenario is good. Its an excellent introduction to D&D and has both flexibility and momentum. Its vanilla in flavour but this establishes a good baseline for further D&D. I can see myself using it again when my daughters are old enough to play 5e. Though the adventure was just a one-off, I think Red Hand of Doom would make a perfect sequel.

My overall impression of D&D5e has settled into a mildly positive one. It is a hassle-free and fun version of the D&D rule-set that I would be happy to play or run if they opportunity struck. This breadth of appeal is somewhat at sacrifice in depth, as 5e lacks a specific pull like that of 4e or Dungeon World. However, breadth of appeal is not a bad thing for D&D.

My monthly run of Legacy of the Crystal Shard continues and we have had a great opening session. I am expecting a lot from that adventure. I am also facilitating Vault of the Dracolich at Kapcon next year. This should bring my triple header for D&D 5e to an end and provide me with a good shake down on the RPG.