Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mines of Phandelver

Tonight, I ran the first sessions of the D&D 5e Starter Set adventure, Mines of Phandelver. It went really well. One of the players is in my C&C Stonehell group and runs 5e on a regular basis. The other two have only played a RPG once before during a Greyhawk Reborn event. They did very well and are a lot of fun to play with.

I made some changes to the adventure. Most obviously, I set it in Mystara instead of Forgotten Realms. The players started out in Threshold and headed out for Phandelver to look for their missing dwarf friend Gundark. They discovered the remains of his caravan and were ambushed by goblins. They tracked a fleeing goblin to a cave. As they made their way into the cave, they were hit by two floods from goblins breaking dams above them. They decided to try another route. Their initial push into the cave saw them rescuing Sildar, one of Gundark's bodyguards. Sildar told them that Gundark had discovered the long lost Wave Echo Cave, and that he believed the bugbear in this cave had captured him to find the cave.

After a short rest the party pushed on to take on the bugbear. The characters wound up fighting the entirety of the last two encounters at once on the bridge. They handled it well and overcame the odds with some help from goblins falling to their death while trying to sneak up behind them. I think the 5e system really shined during this encounter. The players were able to do interesting and clever things but the game kept moving quickly.

I have now been both a player and DM in 5e and I am looking forward to playing it some more. I think this is a really good introductory adventure. This may be the best introductory set they have had since the final Basic D&D box sets back in the '90s.

Friday, September 11, 2015

City Month Day 8

This is what I have worked out for the background of the city so far.

A thousand years ago, the Prime Material Plane was devoured by a strange extra-planar force. The great wizards and scientists of the worlds of the Prime Material Plane had time to construct 12 Sphere Arks with which to save as many people (now called Primers) as possible. These Sphere Arks were set adrift in the multiverse to find a new home for the Primers. The Sphere Arks are the height of the Magitech art. Each sphere houses tens of thousands of Primers in a city built on its inner surface. The Sphere Arks' surfaces protect them from many of the dangers of interplanar travel, but their residents must still go out to explore, and outsiders still must come in to trade.

Sphere One has drifted long and far, and still there is no sign of a place to call home. Many generations have lived and died in the Ark ad the memories of life in the Prime Material Plane have faded to legends. Knowledge of Magitech has faded and the wondrous machines that the Ark depends on are falling into disrepair. Occasionally, caches of Magitech items are found, but they are few and far between. It has been centuries since the last time another Sphere Ark was sighted, and the residents of Sphere Ark One have to accept the fact that they may be the last of their kind.

The characters are members of the Prime Guard, the police force of the city. Keeping peace in this town is a hard job. Sphere Ark One has collected a strange mix of residents over centuries of drifting between the planes; demons, elementals, and outsiders of every kind inhabit the city now. They commit every sort of crime you can think of, and come up with new ones every day.  

TridentCon Schedule

The TridentCon schedule and preregistration is up. I am running Stonehell using Castles & Crusades in the first two slots on Saturday.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

City Month Day 7

I made some decisions about the cosmos that my city floats in. Remember that I intend to have the city bob up and down through a layer of planes as it also moves laterally through "space". This means it will be shifting through the planes with sinusoidal motion and will reenter each plane in a different place than it exited it. Not only is the city drifting between the planes, it is moving to different places in the planes.

I intend to stick with the generic planes to start with. This is both for portability reasons as well as familiarity ones. I may be adding some planes as we go if I think of something interesting. For now I am thinking:

  1. Air
  2. Water
  3. Earth
  4. Fire
  5. Field of Victory
  6. The Underworld
  7. Madness
  8. Mechanus
I still need to decide how they are layered, and what it means to move spatially through any one of them. For now, this should be enough to give me a basic idea of what might be in my city.

City Month Day 6

I have decided to use GUMSHOE as my rule set when designing this city. I do not expect this to be a rules heavy exercise; it should be very easy to move this city over to another rule set. I do, however, expect to use some of the assumptions in the GUMSHOE rules when writing the fiction for the world. As GUMSHOE is an open rule set, I expect I will make changes and additions to it to suit my city. I don't want to give too much away, but I am going to need rules for power armor. You can find the GUMSHOE SRD here, so it will be free to follow along when I do use rules.

I think GUMSHOE is going to be a good fit. After spending some more time looking at the rules, I am confident it can handle the level of combat I expect for this setting. It will have to be hacked a bit for a few elements though.

Roll20 Old School Adventures Episode 1 is Up


Around the Web September 10

Some cool stuff I saw today:

USGamer has a story about an OC Remix of the FFIX soundtrack. I love both USGamer and FFIX. FFIX is high on my list of games to replay once I play all the games I haven't played. So that will probably never happen. SquEnix needs to remake it so I have an excuse. 

Troll Lord Games launched a Kickstarter for a new printing of Classic Monsters. I have the first printing and I love it. If they hit the color stretch goal, I will be backing it. I have participated in their Kickstarters in the past and have had no problems. They delivered. 

Venture Beat has a story on the upcoming Baldur's Gate "expansion" from Beamdog, Dragonspear Castle.

The Escapist has a story about the never-filmed D&D movie from the '80s. It sounds like it had a lot in common with the D&D cartoon. Young people get pulled into a D&D world from the real world. It seems to fall into a common fantasy movie trap; it doesn't use many details from the property it is drawing from. This was a problem with the D&D movies that were eventually made. 

The Dice Tower has a review up for the new Star Wars Risk which, surprisingly, is not actually a Risk game. It is actually an update to the old Queen's Gambit game. It is a largeky positive review and I generally trust Tom's opinion.