Sunday, October 31, 2010

On monks and elves.

I mentioned previously that one of the players in our C&C is playing a monk, cleverly named Yoda (I'm thinking the name would have fit a gnome better, the player chose to be human).  As an encouragement to get the players to complete their aspects worksheet I gave them a generous amount of experience points which when combined with the encounter and treasure xp was enough to bump the monk up to third level.  In my opinion one of the coolest monk abilities (gained at 2nd level) is deflection of normal missiles.  When a missile that normally hit the monk they may make a dexterity check.  If the check succeeds the monk deflects the missile and takes no damage.  The monk can only deflect one missile a round, must be aware of the attack, and have a free hand to deflect the missile.

This ability in C&C differs from the AD&D monk where the monk must make a saving throw verses petrification, and there is no mention of the number of missiles that can be deflected.  In my AD&D Players Manual Gygax basically gives the monk a get out of jail free card ... if one were to fail a saving throw they only take one half damage, and no damage if they make the save, however if the spell/ability does not cause damage the effect still happens in the event of a failed save the example given is the gaze of a basilisk still petrifies the monk.  Gygaxien monks are slippery, and while they are comparatively wimpy at lower levels, the monk kicks ass as they level up.

Yoda is also the only none elf in the troupe, I don't particularly care for elves.  Maybe Orlando Bloom's portrayal of Legolas forever turned me off to elves, maybe because I enjoy playing Gygaxien dwarves who don't care for elves, who knows and I don't care, I just don't like elves.  To throw a wrench in the parties works I made the elven characters come from a secretive/secluded nation state, and the humans in the region they are adventuring in are afraid and suspicious of all elves who they share a border with.  I hope the players will struggle with racism and this will lead to interesting role-playing.  Since the group arrived at the Keep yoda has had to interact with most of the NPC's since none of them is willing to speak to the elves.  I am a little worried this will put a bit to much emphasis on Yoda while at the Keep, however I'm hoping this trend will continue where I give each player the spot light for a while and allow them to explore their characters more in-depth.

Tolkien Elves are tough, which is one of the reasons I suppose people like playing elves.  AD&D 1e/2e elves with their infra-vision +1 to hit with long bow or long sword +1 dexterity, basically immune to charm and sleep and on and on.  C&C elves inherit from Gygax most of those traits.  One thing I really like is elves have twilight vision not deepvision (Dwarves, 1/2 orcs. and Gnomes mostly) which finally makes sence to me.  Why would the terrainean elf get the same underground vision as the subterranean dwarf.    

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Miniatures, models, terrain, and inspiration.

I'll probably never build models like this for our game, this is however really cool.  If you don't follow David Petersen's blog you should check it out.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Yesterday we role played, yeah I try to get some role-playing in every weekend like the good geek I am, but yesterday we really role played.  Our complete group has met twice now for a Castles and Crusades game I'm DMing and running Keep on the Borderlands for.  In the first character creation session where I badly fumbled my explanation of aspects (from the FATE, or DFRPG I'm still reading), I did manage to plant the seed of aspects in the minds of the group.  Yesterday we worked through an aspect work sheet for their characters.  I had given them a heads up via email Friday with a couple of prompts, and they ran with it, I read a couple of paragraphs from DFRPG on high concepts, and troubles once they understood I mostly sat at the table asking clarifying questions.

An hour and a half later we started the game.  The group encountered the spiders, (one of our players really doesn't like spiders, however his character was okay) which I had worked in a a threat to the keeps food supply; therefor earning the group a bit of good will form some at the keep.  Sorry Christian I forgot to make a photo of the game mat for you.  The rest of the evening was spent exploring the Keep and surrounding Hamlet which I shamelessly stole from Bigby's Left Hand.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No fighter, does a paladin wear a chainmail bikini?

My wife and I go to a local Farmers market Thursday nights, it has been kind of damp here in sunny so cal the last couple of days and as expected market night was cancelled.  The wife and I took a long walk around downtown to kill some time before dinner, which got me thinking about toughness, which southern Californians are not, and the make up of our new Castles and Crusades party.

Yes we have two warriors (ranger and paladin), and a monk ... which I think of as somewhere between a warrior and a cleric if measured by martial prowess but it kind of shocks me that our C&C party lacks a fighter.  I'd like to say we have three women in the group and that's probably why there are no fighters, or lowered the probability of there being a fighter in the party, but I'm not sure how to say it without sounding like a sexist ass-hat, (so there I said it) although our ranger and paladin are played by women. 

Which got me thinking about the evolution of the fighter in AD&D.  1e pre Unearthed Arcana the combat might of a paladin (and rangers up to level 6 at which point the other warriors get another attack every other round your ranger gets it at level 7) was the same as a fighter yeah the fighter levels up a little quicker, but is it worth it?  Weapon specialization introduced in Unearthed Arcana gives the fighter a huge combat advantage, but rangers can specialize too so once again the fighter is shorted.  2e weapon specialization is limited to the fighter and finally a dude that wants to kick ass in hand to hand combat now has a clear choice of a class that is the master of the battle field.  In C&C the fighter is the only character class that starts with a +1 Bonus to hit, combined with weapon specialization like the 2e fighter they are ass kickers.  

As a player I tend to play clerics or fighters so when I look at our party composition: 

Pink = Female Elf Illusionist/Druid 
Black = Male Elf Rogue 
Zianna = Female Elf Paladin
Yoda = Human Dude Monk
Kel = Female Elf Ranger

And seeing my two favorite classes missing, I think about what I can throw at the group.  Now I know they will be able to handle most things, but in our last session if there was a fighter or a cleric in the party the lizardmen encounter could have been a lot quicker or less bloody.  Without a cleric's undead turning ability are they going to run away or trudge through the zombies?  Pink can do a little healing, but she is no battlefield medic, so do I load them up with healing potions, ointments, or a wand ... not going down that road.  I'll see how they get through the caves of chaos before making any of those decisions, and there may be some attrition in the caves.

One thing for sure based on the make up of the party they are better suited to wilderness adventuring then spelunking, which I have no problem with.  Actually I prefer the wilderness, I've always had a tuff time with dungeons, and I just find most of them illogically designed.  What are all those creatures doing hanging out in this subterranean complex with no food, or waste disposal? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I got mini's

... Yep we did it.  After our fist C&C game where we used dice to mark PC and foe positions on a battle mat I spent the next two weeks acquiring some minis.  Before I left for Vegas I won an eBay auction for 100 minis, and while in Vegas I hit a couple of FLGS's and picked up a some of over priced WotC minis.  It reminded me of buying hockey cards as a kid who knew what I would get in the mystery box, I think they were Lords of Madness, or something like that, one box had a Roc the other a Trebuchet.

with thanks to Christian for the picture cause I'm to lazy to go make one of my own, kind of sad for a photographer.

What the hell am I going to do with a f'ing Roc and a Trebuchet?  It's like hoping to get an Oiler, and getting stuck with a Flame Grrr!  Nobody wanted to trade for a Flame.  Not going to do that again.

I did pick up one Monster Manual pack that I could see had a bad ass Minotaur because B2 has one ... and Minotaurs are cool.

How did minis go in the game?  It went well the group is green so there wasn't a whole lot of tactical meta-gaming BS.  The one player who has some experience gave the group some suggestions, which they needed.  As I suspected the mat was much more easy to understand (am I the green d6, or the red d8?) and the players took to movement in the combat environment and could make firm decisions.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

15 band wagon

15 Games that influenced my gaming ethos.

1. Red Box D&D w/the Elmore cover
2. AD&D 1e
3. AD&D 2e mostly the same game if you play 1e with  Unearthed Arcana
4. Heroes Unlimited, TMNT, RIFTs, Robotech, RECON, Ninjas and Superspyies, PFRPG ... really any thing Siembieda and crew threw out.
5. Axis and Allies
6. Twillight 2000
8. Paranoia
9. Traveler 2300
10. Shadowrun
11. Boot Hill
12. Star Frontiers
13. Traveler in the little black box
14. Street fighter 2
15. Marvel Super Heroes RPG

Monday, October 18, 2010

BAD Dungeon Master

Well maybe not bad, and I suppose technically I'm a Castle Keeper.  Our two other players showed up yesterday, a former student of our host (who plays in our 2e game), and her father.  Big daddy rolled up a Monk (this will be the fist monk played in a game I'm running) he named Yoda; while former student chose to be a Ranger she named Kel. 

The party so far:

Pink = Illusionist/Druid (which I tried to talk her out of)
Black = Rogue
Zianna = Paladin
Yoda = Monk
Kel = Ranger

And they are all elves but Yoda who wisely chose to be human.  Like most gamers I haven't played with many women, and I've never ran a game with women, so to have three in one party is extraordinary I am, however looking forward to it.

We started later that usual and with creating the two characters we didn't have a whole lot of time for gaming.  We ran through two encounters from Keep on the Borderlands, the brigands that I kind of forced them into, and the lizardmen because the group chose a poor location to spend the night.  The party soundly defeated the brigands, with a good combination of muscle, spell casting and role playing.  The lizardmen almost wiped the party out.  Yes I attacked them at night, and since in C&C elves only have twilight vision not the typical AD&D infravision the party was kind of hopeless.  I approached from two sides, one group ran a foul of warning traps set by the ranger the other came in quietly from the left flank.  Mostly the party was smart they waited to see what the lizardmen would do, once the main group attacked Pink cast light and combat ensued.  At the same time Black knowing there is something going on to the left flank goes to check it out, fails his hide check, and gets jumped.  I role a natural 20 so poor Black is knocked unconscious.  What followed was the absolute worst string of rolls by a party that I have ever witnessed, round after round of rolls under ten by almost everyone.  Finally Kel takes out one then two Lizardmen, Zianna falls (much to my chagrin), and Yoda and Kel clean up.  As encounters go the brigands should have been much more difficult, but horrible rolls by the party and one luck shot on my part could have easily turned in to a TPK.  Hopefully lessons learned by CK and party.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mini's or not?

The DM for the 2e game I play in has a horde of mini's he uses for everything, and sometimes it can bog down the game.  For combat I do enjoy knowing where everyone is, but I do worry that it makes the combat more "tactical" not a major worry just something in the back of my mind.

Who doesn't love Mind Flayers.

Last week FedEx brought me a D&D starter set.  I order them Monday after our little mini dungeon I ran the new group through.  Before the game I ran down to a FLGS to pick-up a couple minis, but nothing caught my eye.  Now I do have some minis I bought when I was in high school, they are lead most aren't painted and the home we are playing at holds a three year old and a newer tit sucker.  I t probably would have been fine, but some parents are a little paranoid, and I didn't want to offend anyone.  I like mini's I just don't know how much I want to use them in my game.

I lust after a beholder mini.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


My latest Ebay reacquisition is a MERP boxed set.  It came last week while I was away at the USPSA National Championship Match (that's a link to the top 25 results, yeah I'm there at 16!).  In my tiny mind I can recount playing a couple of times, I always thought the ICE's MERP products had great art and maps so I wanted some of their stuff in my collection.  Mostly I remember hours of character generation, followed by swift death in brutally quick combat, and reading the crazy critical hit/fumble tables.

I am trying to rebuild my RPG collection I hawked through the years, so I'm looking for more MERP supplements because they are a whole lot of awesome, and have my eyes open for a 1e Twilight 2000 boxed set.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Character Creation and mini Dungeon.

Most of the group got together Sunday and started their characters, two of the players couldn't make it, and I botched my explanation of aspects.  That being said it went smoothly as could be expected with three people sharing one book.  We are going to go ahead with the aspect creation phase in a couple of weeks when the last two players are present.  Assuming I reread the aspects chapter in the DFRPG.

Since the wife is a completely new role player I ran them threw a four room dungeon so she/they could get a feel for the C&C rules and for me to get back in to the swing of DMing.  Yes I was a little rusty.

So what kind of character did the newbie role player/wife make?

... An elven illusionist named Pink.

On her first adventure with her twin brother a rogue named Black ... to be fair she changed her name after he announced his brilliant name to the group, oh well I can handle some cheese.

Any hoo we won't be gaming for a couple of weeks I am headed to Vegas this weekend to compete in the USPSA national championships, and there is a lot to be done. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

10/02/2010 2e AD&D

I'm going to take a nap ... so I can get back up and play 2e AD&D most of the night.  My life right now is pretty sweat!

I just did a Google images search for 2e AD&D this is one of the images I got back:

And the dubious caption:

this is geraldine. she likes swimming in pools, playing advanced dungeons and dragons (2nd edition only), and is a neurobiologist (hobby). she has loads of money and uses said money for buying and collecting mints.

All of a sudden I want to play an assassin who has had his alignment changed to Lawful Good through some curse, I'll run it by the DM.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Keep on the borderlands

Like the good DM I want be I'm doing a little prep work for our first session this Sunday.  Yeah I know we'll probably be lucky to get characters made with my plan to implement the DFRPG aspects work sheet into the process, but I'm hoping to get a scene under our belts as well.  Back on point I'm thinking that any one of the complexes in the Caves of Chaos could quite easily result in a TPK for a first level party, especially if I roll well and they don't (assuming they aren't suicidal in their assault).  Rereading the description of the Keep I'm fairly confident a party could spend a couple of sessions without venturing into the wilderness.  I'm planning a few encounters within the walls for the party to get to know each other, their characters, and my gaming style.  With special thanks to Johnn 4 and his 100 city encounters.  Mostly I'm hoping the party can get in to a significant amount of trouble in the keep and the surrounding area to bump most of the group up to second level.

On the plus side this weekend our 2e DM called for a bonus session this Saturday night ... YAY!