Hello, remember me?

Wow… it’s been a while! Sorry about that. Things have been a little weird, as I mentioned, but I wasn’t expecting to go this long without posting. Sorry for the absence, I hope y’all haven’t given up on me.

Since I’ve been gone I’ve joined a D&D Adventures League group. It’s a new experience for me, playing in a game store with people I don’t know very well. I’m enjoying myself, but it’s taking some adjustment; when there’s a lot of poeple in the store I have a hard time because chaotic background noise messes with me. We’ve also had people popping in and out of the game with is something I usually try to avoid when I’m running a game. But I’m not running this one, so I have to cope. In case your wondering, I’m playing a Dragonborn Monk who just hit level 2.

On a related note, I’m sure most of us GM types are always on the look out for tools to help us in our herculean tasks. I’d like to share a couple that I’ve been using, Evernote and Obsidian Portal. I’ve found Evernote is pretty helpful in planning a campaign. It’s note taking software, similiar to OneNote, if you’ve ever used that, but it’s free. Superficially it’s just taking notes, but It organizes your notes and lets you add things like images and pdfs, so you can work character sheets right into the notes for your NPC. Obsidian Portal is great for world building; it’s a site that lets you build a wiki for the campaign you’re building. It’s not much of a boon for plot elements in my opinion; that’s stuff you don’t want your players to see so normal notes are fine. But is is good for making something your players can use to learn about your world’s history, geography, and things like that. It also has an adventure log so everyone can keep up to date. Neither of these tools are without some downside, but I like them.

I know this isn’t much for how long it’s been, but it’s something, right?

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Pending Schedule Issues & 5e Speculation

Ok, so I haven’t posted this week like I said I’d try to in order to make up for last week. Bad blogger, bad blogger…

And I may be posting infrequently for a while due to some real life stuff, namely that my work schedule is changing in a couple of weeks. I’ll be working on weekends, so won’t really have the time or energy to post on Saturdays anymore. Once that happens I’ll have to switch to either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, and it may take me a while to figure out which day works best and get into a new routine. I’m also transitioning from temporary work to a permanent job, trying to take care of some financial stuff, and eventually trying to relocate. All this is happening as we’re entering the holiday season, etc. etc.

The main point is that this is a weird, somewhat chaotic time for me and, in the short term, I can’t promise regular updates until things become a little more stable. I feel pretty accomplished, though, in that I’ve kept this thing going more or less regularly for several months, and have developed an audience. I greatly appreciate every comment, every new follower, and every like. Thank you guys for showing an interest. While you may hear less from me for a while, I’m not going away for good.

On a more RPG related topic (that’s what you come here for, right?) I’m still pretty fixated on the new edition of D&D. The Monster Manual comes out in a few days, and I’m really excited… and annoyed that I have to wait until December 9th for the DM’s Guide. I, like Veruca Salt, want it NOW! I have some questions that I’m bristling to know the answers to. Some will be answered in the MM, but I think the DMG will answer more. Some of my questions are:

  • Will there be prestige classes? It’s seems possible that there won’t be, since a) 5e is geared towards simplifying and streamlining things b) even the regular classes have multiclassing prerequisites in a manner similar to prestige classes did in earlier editions, and c) all of the classes have “subclasses” chosen between 1st and 3rd level, depending on class (for example, fighters and rogues choose an Archetype at third level, Sorcerers choose a Sourcerous Origin at 1st level, and Druids choose a Druidic Circle at second level), and these subclasses seem kind of prestige classy. Even so, I hope there will still be prestige classes, or something similar, because I like the more specific forms of advancment they offer to higher level characters. And they’re fun.
  • Will there be rules for monstrous characters? Not only did the  monstrous character rules in 3e provide additional options for players, they helped DMs customize antagonists by, for example, letting a band of “standard” orcs be led by a Cleric of Gruumsh. We’ve already gotten a peak at how monsters work, from the few sample creatures in the PHB to the monster stat blocks released for the Starter Set as well as the Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat adventures that have been released, most of which are available as free downloads (and also gives us a still in the works sneak peak at a section of the DM guide, showing how to tailor encounters to party level) so we now what the stats are for a standard orc, or goblin, etc… but the matierial released so far has not (at least from what I’ve seen) provided any base racial traits for monstrous humanoids (ability score increases in particular), so at this point I’m not particularly sure how a DM might go about building an Orc Cleric or a Goblin Warlock other than just winging it. I’m sure the MM and/or DMG will go into this, but I’m curious about the process. Will there be level adjustments and Effective Character Levels, as in 3e, or will it be different?
  • How many domains are in a Diety’s portfolio? The PHB mentions that Dieties have multiple domains, collectivly called a portfolio, as in previous editions, and there is an appendix giving brief overviews of Dieties from different pantheons in different campaigns settings so you’re cleric has some idea of which god to follow, but that appendix only lists one or two “suggested domains” for the diety, and doesn’t go into a lot of details about the gods themselves. For example, for Lolth, the suggested domain is Trickery, but even I know that the Spider Queen is about more than Trickery. I just finished reading R. A. Salvatore’s Homeland (yeah, late to the party, that’s me) and I don’t think I’d describe Lolth as a “trickster” goddess.

So you can rest assured that, as this sort ofinformation becomes more available, I’ll be here to report… eventually.

 

Mileage

Yeah… so that whole switching to Wednesdays thing didn’t work out so well. Oops. Anyway…

About a year and a half ago I was in a D&D 3.5 game. I was the only one with a hard copy of the Player’s Handbook I just left it at the house we played at. It’s been there ever since until yesterday when I finally got around to picking it up. George, the guy who was holding on to it, made sure to point out some light damage to the corners the book took since I left it at his place.

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He apologized, and I said I was ok with it. And I meant it, too.

I used to be pretty uptight about the condition of my game books, before I realized that what wears books out is getting used. The books I have that are in the best condition are the ones I haven’t really used very much. Alternatively, the book I’ve gotten the most use of, the one that I used to carry with me every where I went, Vampire: the Masquerade (Revised Edition), is in terrible condition.

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That, my friends, is mileage!

So don’t worry about frayed corners or worn bindings or scratched covers. It’s just what love looks like.

Side Post: Changing Day

I’ve been thinking that updating this blog on weekends may be a bad idea; i’m either distracted by weekend festivities or just too lazy with the weekends lazinesses to think of a good topic. So I’m going to try posting on Wednesdays instead. Just so ya know.

Mission statement and other introductory remarks

Hello, my name is Pat, and two things I love are writing and role playing games. This blog is an attempt to combine those two loves. Specifically, this is a place where I intend to delve into the medium; to analyze it, talk about my experiences with gaming, and explore ideas and concepts and relate them to role playing games.

In mentally preparing myself to start this blog, I’ve come up with several topics, some specific and some more general, that I want to write about. As the blog progresses, many of these topics will probably be revisited and referenced in discussing other topics, because they all seem to be related. But to make some broad terms about my goals with this blog, here’s a list of some general ideas I’d like to discuss:

  • Role playing games as a medium of artistic expression
  • Game mechanics; their purpose and importance
  • Things I’ve learned to do right in games, and things I’m still working on
  • Fun stories about games experiences I’ve had

… and maybe some totally off topic stuff will come up from time to time as well. I should probably mention that I don’t believe there is such a thing as a bad word, and have no intention of censoring myself. So, y’know… cunts and shit.

Still here? Ok.

I think now would be a good time to talk about my history with the role playing games. First off all, let me just come right out and say that I’m not an expert. Though I dabbled a bit as a high school student in the 1990s, I didn’t really get into role playing games until the early 2000s, (so I never had to deal with that whole thac0 thing I’ve heard so many horror stories about) and for a long time I was very focused on one game, Vampire: the Masquerade. After a while I started looking at other games, and very intently studied the d20 system, but it was mostly academic. I was only really playing Vampire. Then around 2005, when the classic World of Darkness was ended and the new setting was released, I suddenly found myself without people to play with and kind of got out of the hobby until I began to miss it around 2011. I got a group together and ran a new WOD game. That group is still together and over the last few years we’ve played several different games, mostly WOD but we do branch out occasionally, and I’ve also had two side groups playing, so far, exclusively non WOD games. I’ve spent most of my time as a gamer as a GM. It’s the role I’m most comfortable in, and the one I enjoy the most, though it is fun to focus on one character as well.

It’s been during this resumed activity that I’ve begun to realize that role playing games aren’t just a hobby for me, they’re a passion. They’re a creative outlet and a means of looking at real world things through a fictional lens or by breaking them down into game rules. And I know there are a lot of people, some with more experience than me and some with less, who feel the same way. If you or anyone you know is an avid gamer you’ve heard real life ideas, emotions, and even events explained as “a failed save” or “a crit”. We describe people in terms of D&D alignment, or what their Dexterity rating is. To a non-gamer that might seems silly, but we know that these games aren’t just pastimes or hobbies, they’re art, and like all art they give us a method for defining our world.

I’m going to end this introduction post with some credentials. I’m not an expert, but maybe this will show that I’m not totally talking out of my ass. Here’s a list of games I can say I’m truly familiar with, either by playing or studying (that is, if I haven’t actually played I’ve at least read the core rulebook). In no particular order:

  • Vampire: the Masquerade (Revised Edition)
  • Werewolf: the Apocolypse (Revised Edition)
  • Wraith: the Oblivian (First Edition)
  • Hunter: the Reckining
  • Dungeons and Dragons (Editions 3.5 and 4)
  • Star Wars Role Playing Game (WotC’s version, first and revised editions)
  • Vampire: the Requiem
  • Werewolf: the Forsaken
  • Mage: the Awakening
  • Changeling: the Lost
  • Promethean: the Created
  • Star Trek Role Playing Game
  • Mutants & Masterminds (Third Edition)
  • Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangness
  • Marvel Superheroes (The old TSR game)
  • Battlestar Galactica Role Playing Game

Thanks for checking this out, I hope this blog ends up being something you enjoy reading.