Archive for July, 2008

One-eyed and typing

Posted: July 28, 2008 by pointyman2000 in Roleplaying Games
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Sorry for my absence over the last week, but I had an enhancement surgery to augment my prior LASIK procedure on my left eye, and I’m still in the process of recovery.

That being said, our gaming schedule’s been delayed somewhat, buying me some time to formulate several encounters for D&D.  As I mentioned before, I’ll be running for two groups, and while I’ve had to shuffle the roster of players around the different teams to accomodate an already running Exalted game, I’m pretty confident that both teams should still be able to operate well.

That being said I’ve moved on to looking over the DMG for 4e and so far while the advice is sound, I realize that the old technique of building a party of villains won’t exactly work here.  Monsters don’t conform to character creation rules now, so even those that would be “obvious” as a human fighter, won’t appear as such.

It’s a slight hitch since now I have to figure out how to retrofit the monsters in the Monster Manual to fit my purposes, but thankfully the DMG has extra templates to slap onto monsters and make them customizable.  It’s different, not bad, and just takes that extra bit of work to pull off.  Then again, it’s encouraged that only special Elite monsters should really go around with templates like these, and I agree.

In any case, I’ll be going into more detail on my planning stages and thoughts this week.

D&D Around the Corner

Posted: July 23, 2008 by pointyman2000 in Roleplaying Games
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Real Life getting in the way, and I’ve got a touch up eye surgery to go to this weekend, so gaming’s been delayed.  Not particularly upset about it (20/20 vision’s always a good thing,) since it buys me time to consider my D&D campaign further.

Just to keep people updated, there’s been a reshuffle of the players for the D&D game since Mawf plans to run a modern day Exalted campaign alternating with my D&D.  Because of that, we’re looking at this division:

Team 1

  1. Christine – Wizard
  2. Heineken – Warlord
  3. Mappy – Warlord
  4. Maddie – Cleric
  5. Vicente – Fighter
  6. Alvin – Paladin

Team 2:

  1. Blake – Rogue
  2. Mawf – Cleric
  3. Rick – Warlock
  4. Pilo – Ranger
  5. Victor – Wizard
  6. Panm – Paladin

So far this hasn’t impacted my planning in the least as I haven’t made large assumptions on groupings, as much as indivdual threats and storylines per character.  Now that things have settled down I can start working on the general storyline, as well as breaking things down into chapter and quests.

I’ll be taking a page out of WoW for this one.  The storytelling outline from what I can see so far will resemble:

  1. Overarching Storyline (Metaplot)
    1. Story Arc A
      1. Quest A
      2. Quest B
    2. Story Arc B
      1. Quest C
      2. Quest D
    3. Story Arc C
      1. Quest E
      2. Quest f

Occasionally each story arc will culminate in a dungeon (it’s Dungeons & Dragons after all), or at least involve an interesting major conflict.  Whether or not it’s exposing a changeling masquerading as a Duke in court, or facing down a dragon that threatens the countryside, or trying to seal away an ancient evil, each of these major conflicts will start tying together with the individual storylines, and then finally each story will impact the metaplot.


These are questions that I feel players might actually benefit from with their characters after every campaign.  During a campaign characters are bound to experience a multitude of things, hardship, suffering and triumph.  But like real people characters become more interesting when they change along with these situations.

This doesn’t mean of course that all characters should become something else, but there’s a bit of benefit to showing how a character has been irrevocably altered by his or her circumstances.  Some learn to become better, others make the choice to become worse.  But one thing that change does implement is that it makes characters memorable.

If you’ll forgive another “Let me tell you about my Character” moment, I’d like to take Shiba Tetsuya from the current Legend of the Five Rings campaign.  He began as a tortured soul suffering from an unrequited love for the woman that his best friend married.  Instead of lashing out in jealousy, he found renewed purpose in raising their daughter as his own when his best friend died, and the woman had to return to the spirit world.

At first everything seemed clear cut.  Tetsuya was a stickler for the rules, but what was a surprise to himself was how deep his devotion for his ward ran.  When it became clear that the Empire itself was a danger to his ward, Tetsuya forsook all bonds of honor and status, abandoning his duty as a Samurai in order to steal her away and make sure that nobody would be able to harm her.

Throughout the campaign he found himself doing things that he would never have considered as an honorable samurai, but slowly began to rationalize things along the lines that he was a true villain.  Now that the campaign is winding to a close, Tetsuya knows that he’s done so much and broken enough of the societies rules that he’ll never really have a place in the empire he’s worked so hard to save.

What will become of him?  Well, we’ll find out this weekend, but it doesn’t look pretty. :D

That being said, Tetsuya wouldn’t be half as interesting if he stayed the same, never learned, never adapted to the situations.  Did he become a better person? Well… it’s debatable.  But he sure as hell became a memorable character.

Pointyman reads… Exalted, 2nd Edition

Posted: July 16, 2008 by pointyman2000 in Roleplaying Games
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Exalted has always been something of an odd duck.  A curious blend of mythic fantasy meets anime inspirations blended together with an extensive powers system that has combos and trees and various crazy names, this is the kind of game that polarizes people.  I know people who love the game to bits, and can recite Charm mechanics verbatim off the book, and I know people who hate it just for being what it is without even reading the contents.

I however, have always found myself in an odd love-hate relationship.  I love Exalted’s setting.  It’s bright, new, daring and opens itself to a lot of the kind of playstyles that makes my heart sing.  The systems however has gotten so much more complicated lately that I’m stuck mired in the mud of mechanical drudgery, killing off all these wonderful flighty ideas that I have in concept when the characters die purely because the villains were Better Built™

And so I’ve come to this.  In what could be reasoned as a last ditch attempt to reconcille my expectations with what is, I’m going to dive into this headfirst, and try reading the exalted book from cover to cover, dropping notes and annotations as I go along, bringing up the questions of a man struggling to try and make sense of this game.

What follows is a chapter by chapter read through of the game, accompanied by some of my comments (in blue).  For those who haven’t read Exalted, it might serve as a review.  Though a word of warning, it’s a long post.

(more…)

Witch Girls Adventures

Posted: July 16, 2008 by pointyman2000 in Roleplaying Games
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Here’s something that just popped out of nowhere… I’m fairly certain I’m not the target market for this, but if we can get the younger crowd into RPGs with these kinds of books then I’m all for it:

The accompanying copy reads:

“In the world of Witch-Girls power comes in all shapes and sizes. So be nice… or be a toad”

Witch-Girls Adventures is a table top role-playing game that allows its players to participate in a world of magic and mischief. Players take on the role of witches they design from scratch, choosing their powers, skills and abilities. They can attend one of the many magic schools, solve mysteries both magical and mundane and go on adventures limited only by their imagination.

Designed for beginners with simple rules and fantastic illustrations by some of the best up and coming illustrators around Witch Girls Adventures is fun for players of all ages.

I dimly recall that there was also some sort of Pokemon Adventure game that was similar to an RPG as well.  It’s good to see that even with the major players out there, we’ve got some creative few that are busy plugging away at their own games.

A shame that this probably won’t see the light of day here in the philippines though.  Given all the young girls crazy for W.I.T.C.H. and various other light romance fantasy comics out in the market today, it might actually sell.

On a side note, I’m pretty happy about the cover.  It’s tasteful, appealing to the eyes, good composition, reasonable use of space, and doesn’t have to rely on sexist imagery to get the point across.  My biggest complaint about it would be the logo though… it seems a bit too tacky as compared to the rest of the image.