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Showing posts from October, 2009

Megadungeons 2

I have read a lot about megadungeons over the last week or so, and the more I read the more I want to run one. I have never run a megadungeon before. In fact I hardly ever run dungeons at all. I can think of two real, multisession dungeons I have run. The most recent was the 4th edition module Keep on the Shadowfell. This combined two things I am usually wary of doing in a game: a pregenerated module and a dungeon crawl. It was one of the worst modules I have ever read,let alone ran. We made it maybe 4 sessions in before going back to Traveller. The first dungeon run I did was shortly after high school. We had been playing for around 8-10 years at this point and I put one into a long running campaign purely because we had never done one before. It took about three long sessions to run through the dungeon and many great and memorable stories game out of that adventure. So this one was overall very positive. Generally my players pretend to be in the political thick of things, even at low


There has been a lot of megadungeon talk around the internet for the last week. I am hardly an expert on the subject, having never run one myself, but I do have some things that I would like to see in a published megadungeon. 1. It should be pretty short. I don't need to see more than 100 pages for a whole world campaign setting (and I can go with FAR less) so I'd like to see the megadungeon come in at 64 pages or less. 2. Most of that space should be spent on a description of the rooms/areas. I am not talking about boxed text to read aloud here, I am talking about good physical descriptions that give me more than I will probably give the players at first. Historical information will be really useful here. 3. I would prefer that, in general, an area of rooms was described with random tables given for things that could be found in that area. Give me good historical information, a good description of what the stoenwork in that area is like, and random tables to use to populate th

@ttack Thoughts

I have come to prefer a blend of sci-fi and fantasy over either in their pure form. This can take the form of science fantasy like Star Wars or Expedition to the Barrier Peaks style UFO's in a fantasy world. Post apocalyptic fantasy like Gamma World is also very appealing. I do not like prophecies, supermen, or chosen ones. Anyone like that is likely to be a villain in one of my games. Actually a villain is likely to be someone pretending to be genetically superior to others to control them. I want to have a megadungeon in my game. I have never run a megadungeon, in fact I have run very few dungeons period. There have been caves and ruined castles, but they were always realistically small in size. In order to have a megadungeon I will need to come up with a reason for it to exist that makes sense. I do not want to have character classes or races in @ttack. That isn't to say that players cannot have a character of a race other than human, just that they will not be forced to adh

D&D Editions: BECMI Basic Set

From time to time I will be writing my thoughts on different editions of D&D. I take a very expansive view of what counts as an edition of D&D. There are several games that are heavily D&D based that will be included. BECMI stands for Basic, Expert, Companion, Master, and Immortal. These were box sets published throughout the '80s by TSR and put together by Frank Mentzer. They detail the system that is commonly referred to as Basic D&D or Classic D&D. Each box set was intended to cover different levels of play. Basic: 1-3, Expert: 4-14, Companion: 15-25, Master 26-36, Immortal: after the characters ascended to immortal status. They are easily identified by their Larry Elmore cover art. The Basic Set was my introduction to D&D. It was not actually my introduction to the hobby, More on that later. This edition is laid out to teach the game. After a short introduction there is a very simple adventure in which you only roll the D20 to play. That is followed by a

Knockspell Issue 1

Knockspell is another magazine catering to the old school gaming market. It is published by the same people who make Swords and Wizardry and is aimed mainly at that game, although the articles work for any pre-WotC D&D. The first issue has a great Mullen cover, I really enjoy his art style, especially the way he draws people. Inside you will find an editorial from Tim Kask, the first employee of TSR, an article on one way doors and trick stairs, several character classes, 2 adventures and several other miscellaneous articles. The high points of the issue for me were: From Kiroth's Quill , an article on one way doors, variable stairs and sub-levels. These kinds of articles always give me good ideas for things to do in an adventure. Even if I don't use any of the things listed in the article, it sets my mind down that path. The Random Hireling Generator, I always enjoy random trait generators. They are one of the best tools a GM can have, especially for improv. Charnel Cryp

Fight On! Issue 1

Fight On! is an old school gaming publication. It will be most useful to people playing OD&D, Basic D&D, or 1st Edition AD&D. By extension it is also useful to people playing Swords and Wizardry, Labarynth Lord, OSRIC and other "retro-clones". That is not to say that it will not be useful to players of newer editions or other games. It is the kind of publication that gets the gears spinning in your head no matter what kind of game you play. The first issue is a slim 30 pages, but it is packed with gaming goodness. Inside you will find random description tables, a new character race, three dungeon descriptions, some magic items and other various articles full of gaming ideas including a primer on sandbox building. The dungeons are presented in very sparse detail, this gives you enough to work with but leaves plenty of room to make it your own. Overall I enjoyed the first issue of Fight On! and trust me they only get better, more on that later.

Expedition to Castle Blackmoor

I have been thinking about running a game set in the dungeon of Blackmoor Castle. I started my research a few days ago and thanks to some very nice people (you know who you are) I was able to read Supplement II: Blackmoor and The First Fantasy Campaign. Both of these were interesting reads but didn't help me as much as I thought they would. The First Fantasy Campaign was very difficult to work through. It was basically a dump of Arneson's campaign notes, and in many cases assumed that the reader already knew a lot about the players and the setting. There were some great maps of the dungeons, so I will be using those. Luckily, a guy named Harvard has an awesome site dedicated to Blackmoor. He also has a rockin' blog on the subject. Thanks to those sites and some articles in Fight On! I was able to read accounts by the actual players of those early games. I found the accounts by Greg Svenson to be especially useful. There is no way I can reconstruct the actual story of wha


This blog will deal with pen and paper roll playing games. I previously had a blog that dealt with many different kinds of games and with movies. I will concentrate only on pen and paper games and related items in this blog