Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A few quick thoughts on PC races...

PHB Races:
The player races presented in the D&D 4e Player's Handbook are the first ones I want to tackle for the setting, and honestly the easiest to work with given the familiarity everyone has with them. Backwoods elves, Dragonborn privateers and emo Tieflings are all appealing to me right now, and I think they'll be a lot of fun to play with.

Human- The most common folk in the world are humans, found everywhere and tending to be easily cowed by powerful entities, many claim they were formed by the Gods to serve the needs of their betters. A claim often violently refuted by humans themselves.

Dwarf- The closest allies to humans, the dwarf race are powerfully built and tend to be gruff of manner. At one time they lived in the mountains, but many years of war with giant-kin have seen the majority migrate to the lowlands.

Elf- Long lived, beautiful of body and naturally drawn to the woodlands, elves also have a tendency to bear grudges and answer insults with violence, even as they feel free to speak their minds to any and all without answer.

Eladrin- The ancestral rulers of elvenkind, the eladrin hail from the ‘Far Isles’ across the sea. Their ability to warp space is but an outward sign of their alien nature, these immortals are inscrutable to many and their manipulative games have doomed entire nations.

Half-Elf- Outcasts from the woods, half-elves find themselves as homeless wanderers or destitute street dwellers in the cities of the coast. Despised by elves, pitied by men, few of them aspire to anything more than a simple life.

Halfling- Found wherever humans and dwarves dwell, common lore holds that they are a halfbreed race of folk, though the halflings have their own legends in which they are gifted to the world by the goddess Avandra. Wily, nimble and courageous to a fault, many halflings make a living as couriers and messengers between villages in the wilds.

Dragonborn- Scions of the Dragons who rule over the southern desert kingdoms, the dragonborn are seneschals, courtiers and favoured servants of those powerful and ancient beasts. They are the public face of dragonkind, whether walking the streets clad in their finery, or sailing as privateers against the infernal church led city states of the northern coast.

Tiefling- Born servants, natural rebels, the tieflings are a living sign of mortal corruption by the Nine Hells. The result of pacts between the Archdevils and mortal men, they are mistrusted and feared in the north, seen as dangerous criminals in the south and rarely given the chance to prove their individual worth before being judged for their very nature.
Wow, so much for my big spooktober idea eh? On the upside I got my job situation sorted, made headway on diploma stuff and now have a couple of solid campaigns running again.

So to make up for the lack of updates for my imaginary readers, I'm going to be doing some new campaign setting stuff.

I like 4e a lot, and don't much care for what I've seen of Next. So I'm going to do a new setting for 4e, riffing on the implied setting, the assumptions of 4e play and my own love of monsters. Because monsters are frickin' awesome.


Basically, I'm thinking about taking the story of Grendel and applying it as the norm across the lands of men and dwarves. There isn't a village or town without a local monster claiming dominion over the territory, whether that's as mindless predator or the rare cunning tyrant such as Giants, Dragons or even the occasional Demon or Elemental.

The coast cities are free of monster borne tyranny, but only because the king sold his soul (and firstborn) into infernal bondage. The people are beholden to the church of Asmodeus and the Nine, drafted into the border watch for their endless war on the Orc hordes of the highlands and elven rebels of the Aelderwood. And still the waters of the sea are plagued by Dragonborn pirates, the Kraken and ancient shark gods of the depths.

The southern cities are ruled by ancient Dragon lords and the Tiefling nobles who chafe under their greedy rule. Dragonborn agents of the lords do battle constantly with cults, infernal warlocks and shadowy cabals seeking to end the rule of the Dragons.

So the frontier and wilderness is claimed by giant monsters, civilised lands are either falling into corruption or ruled by tyrant Dragons, and things are bad all over. Cue the heroes...


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pesky real life...

And it's damnable intrusions! Well, all over now and it's time to get back to doing something properly productive.

And with October on the horizon, that something is going to take the form of a personal Halloween build up. I've always enjoyed the horror genre, whether it be in games, movies or the printed page and I'm going to make October 2013 my own little celebration of the creepy and macabre.

Each and every day of October I'll post up something horror themed and RPG related that maybe someone can get a kick out of.

Jason Voorhees as a Pathfinder villain?
The church of the nightmare god Kruger in Heroes Unlimited?
Zombies, aliens, mutants and maybe a killer robot or two?

Sounds good to me, and it'll be good to blow off the cobwebs and get back to being somewhat productive.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

It's not yet November but...

I still went ahead and signed up to national novel writing month over at nanowrimo. I'm one of those guys who's always meant to write that book or this short story, but aside from a few bits and pieces I always let myself get distracted.

And by distracted I mean never made the effort because I was scared of a) failing and b) people laughing at me.

Well now I'm old enough, ugly enough and more than relaxed enough to know that a) won't happen until I try, and b) doesn't matter worth a crap. The positive feedback I've been getting on some minor projects helped a lot in that regard, knowing that I'm backed up by friends and family who won't coddle me is always nice.

So yeah, nanowrimo 2013. It's on. I've got a story to tell, a setting to tell it in and no excuses this time.

Let's go tell a story folks.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Ye Olde World had the best campaign maps

Don't you agree? It's not hard to see at least a dozen ideas at first glance, in what might be the ultimate sandbox.

One of these days I'll print off a big copy of this bad boy and drop it on the table. Then let a party of 1st level delvers loose to go poke things and see what happens.

So, who's up for a game?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Shameless self promotion time.

Because I'm really enjoying recounting the antics of my boys in our new D&D campaign, as they tromp round the Dales and beat up dungeon dwellers in a nice meeting of old school mentality with 3.5 rules.

So I'm just gonna link to the actual play thread for the campaign over on RPGnet for any readers out there who might have an interest.

Here we go, enjoy gentle reader.

Monday, 9 September 2013

A little bit of fiction

The Woods Are Dark

You know of what I speak child, the shadows where the nightmares live. The places your mother tells you to avoid, where foolish children wander and never again return from.
She will never tell you why the men of our village light burning torches on the forest's edge when night falls, or why even the brave hunters count their footsteps so carefully when their prey vanishes amid the trees.

I will tell you now though. Because tomorrow you will be a man, and all men should know what it is that lives in the dark of the woods.

It is hate. A hatred ancient and primeval, born of envy and longing. The trees live you see, they think and feel. In times long gone, they would speak with men and offer their shade and fruit, their sweet sap would be given gladly in exchange for the stories we would tell.

The trees loved to hear our tales of far off lands and the journeys that took us so far from home. For they could not take the journey, never would they look upon the mountains save from afar. The beauty of the sea depths, the golden sands of the desert. No, the trees stand where they are born and never may they move for the gods who made them cared not for the desires of the the forest. "Stay in your place, and care to the ground" they told the trees. "You will shelter the beasts, and provide that which men need of you, that is your purpose and your lot." And the trees were happy enough, for they knew nothing of the world's wonders beyond their boughs.

And so the trees stood silent in their place, they sheltered the beasts and gave to men that which was needed, be it wood for burning or fruit for eating. They looked out upon the distant mountains, and though they wondered what might lie there, they were content. For they knew no better.

Until the day a hunter and his son took shelter beneath an ancient and mighty tree, and the great old one heard the voice of the man as he taught his son of the world. The old one listened to the tales of the mighty ocean depths, of the snowy mountains and the other wonders he had never considered in all his years. In his cracked and creaking voice, the old one spoke to the hunter and begged of him more tales of the wonders he had never dreamed.

And so began the sharing of tales with the trees, for the hunter told his people that the trees yearned for news of the world and of their generosity in payment. Hunters would tell their stories to the trees, and they would snare birds in their boughs and bring forth the sweetest fruit to pay for these tales.

After many tales had been told, the old one, ancient beyond measure cried out to the gods who had made him. He begged them to let him roam beyond the forest, to let him walk the roads he had heard so many tales of and see the other wonders the gods had made. "No, that is not for you old tree" the gods answered. "The soil and wind is for you, the company of your kin and the tales of men are all you shall know of the world. For we have made you and this is your lot." And they would hear no more of it.

The old one grew wroth at this, and when the men came to share with him his bitterness was so great that he caught them in his roots and buried them beneath the ground. "If I cannot walk upon the world, then nor can these men" the old one rumbled to his kin as they watched in horror. "Until we can be as the men, we shall share no more with them" and so it was, for the old one was as the king of the trees, eldest and wisest among all the forest.

Soon enough more men came, seeking their lost friends, and many of them too were ensnared by the old one and his kin. Many men were buried amid the roots of the forest, their bodies taken to feed the trees until the gods released them to walk as men did.

The gods did not release the trees. Instead they taught men the secret of fire, that they could punish the trees for their disobedience. And so the men came again, with fire and axe they made war on the forest, cutting and burning until the forest howled with the creaking and cracking of fear, and the sap drenched the ground.

The trees could do nothing against the flame or blade, for though they could catch up men in their roots, or swat them with their boughs, the men were many and their fire was a bane to the trees. The men could not burn all the forest though, for they needed the fruits or their bellies and the wood for their shelters, and so they left many trees to serve them, but no longer did they share their stories. Now they took that which they desired, and no man spoke even a word to the trees in their prisons of soil.

And so it is that the trees longing to share the wonders of the world with men turned to envy, and to hate. Hate for those who had what the forest will never know, and hate for those who brought fire and blade to fell the old one, the king of all the forest.

You will find it, should you walk to far into the woods. The heart of the forest, where the hate is strongest. Where the only fruit is poison, and the trees whisper their hate to the beasts, to the birds and the bears, to the wolves. They tell them the old stories of hunters, teaching them the tricks of men so the beasts might outwit the hunter and themselves hunt men for their own prey.

You will never come back from the woods should you go so far young man, because when the night is dark and the shadows are long, the old one's seed is growing again. Growing from ground fed on the men he once snared, the king is returning to his forest.

The old one is the oldest and wisest of the trees. The king of all the forest. And he has learned many things from the men he buried in his ground. He has learned to escape his prison, and he is teaching all of his children those secrets.

Now go and help your father light the torches. The woods are dark tonight.

A thought and a trio of links

Now that I'm up and running I figure this is as good a place as any to pull together some old stuff from assorted posts. Maybe I'll even get back to that wacky idea of reading and reviewing each of the 200+ Forgotten Realms novels out there...

Maybe not.

Anyway, while I start gathering up bits and pieces here's a few amusing links to things I like.

A very handy compilation of assorted megadungeon resources

Jabootu, one of my favourite bad movie review sites

RPGnet, my preferred hangout on the intarwebz.

Friday, 6 September 2013

So James Raggi mentioned what his hobby looks like, and that sounds like a good thing to share.

Mine looks kinda like this.
I keep this on the right just to remind me of why I play these crazy games and that no matter what I come up with, there's no such thing as 'too far'.

Because dragons are cool. And they live in dungeons. Into which adventurers wander. Simples.

And Christopher Lee's Dracula makes everything better. Especially when being staked by the good guys.

So yeah, my hobby looks a little like a good vs. evil fantasy pastiche done 70's Marvel style. If that's a thing that appeals then rock on. If that isn't your cup of tea? No worries, there's room for all of us in this here hobby.

Game on.

Dungeons are fun.

So I suppose the point of having a blog is to actually update it with posts from time to time. Most of my time is consumed with work, looking for a better place of work and dungeon mapping right now.

We kicked off a Forgotten Realms campaign just last week, using the 3.5 D&D rules since a) I like them, and b) my kid brother is off to the army soon and his favourite game is the ideal choice for a send off campaign.

Anyway, what started as a simple 'ramble round the realms' game has spontaneously developed into a megadungeon type of thing.  I tend to find it important to lay out the major players in any given dungeon environment, since that helps with firing inspirado for the various levels of hell I like to inflict on delvers.

Tybor the Extraordinaire, Meister of Rhythm (and not at all a failed bard) is the architect of this particular demesne. Because what's the point in being a fork bearded, Kalak looking villainous archmage if you can't be a little silly about it?

Demogorgon has a claim to chunks of the real estate, and his local Yuan-Ti reps are on site to administrate as needed, especially in the blood sacrifice and adventurer killing departments. Demon worshipping snake cultists are important. Just in general. Like mustard being important on a good hot dog.

Geographically transposed pharaohs, ghoul merchant camps, river dwelling dragons and slavers of some kind are also going to be popping up as the game goes on.

Expect more rambling as I develop the real estate, and of course an obituary of sorts for the poor player character types.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Poor orphan dice.

At Casa de Pete we have a big ammo box loaded with dice. Poor lonely orphan dice that belong to lost gamers, lapsed or otherwise. Some of the wee orphans were found, some donated and many just seemed to appear.

Dice attract dice. Or they breed. Who can say?

So when a newbie turns up to game, or we lure a random passerby into trying our odd elfgames out they always have some funny shaped dice to roll. You'd be surprised how many gamers we've recruited just by virtue of having an ammo box full of funky looking dice.

Once in a blue moon someone will end up giving some poor orphans a home, but more often the box is a dumping ground for cursed or doomed dice.

Poor wee orphans. They just want to be loved.


So yeah, I went and got a blog. Because it seems like a more sensible place to deposit my random musings than facebook or the various message boards out there in the webs.

Mostly I game, and talk about gaming. Of the tabletop RPG variety, so there'll be my thinkings about trolls and elves, or dungeons and vampires. It should be fun, and it might even help me organise the cluttered morass that I call a brain.

I'm Pete by the way, pleased to meet you. Now roll initiative and let's get down to the fun bit.