Tags: shadow of the demon lord

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.

Kapcon 2016 Report

I attended Kapcon 2016 in the weekend. Though the energy seemed more subdued than normal, it was a good Con. The energy (though lower) felt more focussed, it ran smoothly, and I was really happy to see people acknowledging and enjoying the long-lived social aspects of the Con (no doubt enhanced by the disappearance of the mid year Cons).

On Friday, Sam and I had a nice meal with Margie, Hix and James, before a fleeting visit to the pre-Kapcon drinks. The space was tight and noise made talking hard, but I was able to catch up with a few of my favourite people. I then managed a relatively early night's sleep, which paid dividends later.

Saturday morning I took off and helped the Kapcon Organisers and chatted with Nasia, Morgan and Hannah. Given that it was a scenario of my own making, I was happy to hear that Sam's first run of Ryuutama went well. Players of both this run and her second one later in the Con said they were keen to play more, which is always a good sign.

This was followed by my first run of Shadow of the Demon Lord. It ran pretty good with a standout player performance by Cat as a hard bitten Dwarf witchhunter who died of a heart attack at seeing the big bad. I wasn't happy with my own performance as GM, to be truthful, but it was a good wake up for my later games.

In round 3, I ran my second game of Shadow of the Demon Lord. This was a low powered game and with random PC creation. I was worried about it to start (character creation with tired player can be woeful) but it was reliably fun. Robert Vincent owned his murdernating goblin gangster resulting in one of the most hilarious hostage negotiations I have experienced.

I offered to withdraw my round 4 game at the start of round 3 to allow Conan to run his game, only to find that Conan withdrew his game at the last minute. I played in Undying run by MikeS instead. It was enjoyable (it felt like a Vampire Diplomacy) and I would definitely like to see it in action over a few sessions. As it was, I found that only one session skewed some of the play, leaving me a little unsatisfied. I also struggled with the walls of text move sheets, but that would disappear with some more play. I wrapped up the day being the last to leave the building with Russ and Morgan.

I woke up on Sunday tired. Adventure Squad loomed and its always a massive energy sink. Luckily, in the first round Karen ran a game of Mermaid Adventures and Dylan ran 5e. So, I dodged the GMing bullet. I did introduce the squaddies to Tsuro and Love Letter. the best pick me up that morning was seeing how much the squaddies (and their parents) enjoyed themselves. Adventure Squad continues to grow and I think its a great thing for Kapcon.

In round 6, I ran my second run of Shadow of the Demon Lord. I was worried about energy levels but I had a great group, with JonB being the driving force of the group with great player support all round. The session was probably my most enjoyable of the Con. I was happy to see that both Ayla and Sophie had run in round 6 as well and people were impressed. The Kapcon Organisers were also kind enough to recognise Sophie as the youngest Kapcon GM to date :). Fraser also ran a 10 session D&D5e game that round (which I had asked him to prepare on really short notice) and it went very well, resulting in him winning the prize for best single round. I left with my family after round 6.

My main impressions from this Con were:
1. Shadow of the Demon Lord is a really fun game.
2. I did a lot to make the Con fun for other people.
3. Adventure Squad is awesome and needs to continue to grow and be supported.
4. I am tired.

[Shadow of the Demon Lord] My first pregens

I made my first set of six 4th level pregens for my upcoming Con game, Measure of Faith, and I went with rolling almost everything randomly outside of the main choices. These are a group of badass witch hunters, who are on the periphery of the Cult of the New God.

This is what I got:

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I am very happy with the result. I can see these as a group in a book or movie, and each one is one that I would happily play.

Kapcon 2016 Plans Redux

My plans for Kapcon have been all over the place this year. Despite what I posted earlier, my plans had moved to running Urban Shadows only, but this has now changed again. I have ended up with a streamlining my offerings to a single RPG (outside of Adventure Squad) being Shadow of the Demon Lord.

Round 2 and 6 - "A Measure of Faith" for Shadow of the Demon Lord: This is a medium level scenario which reminds me of Joe Abercrombie's First Law series. I will be interested to see how well SotDL handles PCs that are more powerful than starting PCs and I have hopes that it will do much better than D&D5e in this regard.

Round 3 and 4 - "The Apple of Her Eye" for Shadow of the Demon Lord: This is a simpler scenario with starting PCs. As such, it is intended as a demonstration game, including players creating their own PCs (which is a quick and fun process).

Round 5 - Adventure Squad: As already posted, I will be in Adventure Squad. I will have Icons ready to run. However, I am hoping to just support Ayla and Sophie. Ayla will have Star Wars (using Far Away Land) and Sophie Far Away Land.

Shadow of the Demon Lord - Let's Read

Shadow of the Demon Lord is Rob Schwalb's love letter to WFRP, which has then been streamlined, improved, and focussed through his recent experiences in developing WFRP2e and D&D5e. There is a level of unrestrained madness and glee in the RPG that has come across in his KS campaign and updates.

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CONCLUSION
SotDL is everything it says in the tin and more. It takes some of the best RPG concepts out there and polishes them even further. It may not be truly innovative, but the combination of ideas produces an excellent overall result that fans of games like WFRP and D&D will find a lot to like about.

The most impressive thing about the game, other than the design, is the sheer amount of content in a 272 page rulebook. I feel I get as much as D&D packs in 3 books the same size. When you factor this in to this being the product of one writer, it's an amazing feat.

As icing in the cake, the book is gorgeous, macabre, yet fun in presentation and art consistently throughout.

With a lot of support lined up from the KS alone, from campaigns, setting supplements, post-apocalyptic alternative settings, and a companion that adds another 20% more or so monsters, paths and magic, it will interesting to see Rob expand from this excellent foundation.

Shadows of the Demon Lord

Another KS, another $1. :) Seriously, KS continues to provide great RPG by great RPG, even when viewed by a discerning eye. The latest offering that has caught my attention is "Shadow of the Demon Lord" by Rob Schwalb - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/432417423/shadow-of-the-demon-lord.

Over the last few year, the RPGs that I have been interested in seem to fall in two camps:
1. "Traditional style" RPGs that are great for campaign play; and
2. "Indie style" RPGs that are great for one-off or short term play.

There have been very little "Traditional style" RPGs that are for one-shot or short term play. Which is a shame as many of my best one-shot games at Kapcon and the like have be in a traditional style. Generally, the only way to make it work is to hack the system to bits. In fact, most "traditional style" RPGs that are for one-shot or short term play try and achieve this by making the rules as simple as possible, which I find to be unsatisfactory.

Shadow of the Demon Lord is a traditional style RPG that is great for one-off or short term play. Rob Schwalb is an RPG designer that I highly respect. His work on D&D5e, WFRP2e, Star Wars Saga and Song of Ice of Fire shows a high awareness of works well at the table and not just on the page, and he avoids mechanics that don't work well due to overlap, being unnecessary or undercooked, or being just plain kooky.

Shadow of the Demon Lord clearly launches itself off of the back of D&D5e, which exhibits amazing yet subtle mechanical design with a fun system that retains and even celebrates a traditional style RPG. The other RPG that features strongly is a personal favourite of mine, being WFRP 2e. This RPG features in a number of ways, especially the setting which is dark and horrifying. In particular:
1. the PCs start off as 0-level PCs, potentially with details randomly generated, thrust into a world of horror and adventure;
2. the PCs advance through "paths" which seem like a combination of D&D class and WFRP careers;
3. magic is bound into paths, including a variety of black magic; and
4. the PCs can suffer insanity and corruption.

Though WFRP2e and D&D5e by themselves aren't too bad for use in a one-shot play (and I have run both), Shadow of the Demon Lord takes things much further, with a fast playing and easy to understand set of rules. There are ideas from other RPGs that feature, such as using dice for modifiers from FFG's WFRP3e and Star Wars RPGs. I love this as a GM as it abstracts out the numbers and reduces the amount of information exchange required.

To further help support one-shot or short term play, Rob Schwalb expects to support the RPG with loads of "mini" adventures, each spanning only 3 or 4 pages. The KS alone is looking at producing some 20-30 such from an amazing pool of RPG writers. These can be run in one session or strung together into 11 sessions to complete a level 0 to level 10 campaign. These sound like they will be a lot like Dungeon World's Starters, but without all the player directed questions and new terminology.

Finally, amidst the darkness and excellent mechanics, Rob Schwalb has ensured that there is an excellent humorous tone underlying a lot of it. The kind of humour that RPGers will bring to the table regardless of what the RPG tries to achieve. The setting, madness, corruption and magic system are simply delightful and filled with subtle bits of awesome that make me smile with glee.

Hopefully, the final product proves all the above to be true and I will finally have a traditional RPG that is purpose built to be run at the likes of Kapcon and other cons.