Episode 6 begins with the party at the entrance to what they believe to be a dragon’s lair. They’re anxious and nervous, wondering just how one should approach a dragon. It is a good question and one that needs to be asked. How would you approach a dragon?
Also, the party had recently reached level 2 and I talk a bit about what that means.
BND006 – hello dragon(live play starts around 12:50)
Day 15: Favorite Monster (Undead)
Episode 5 rejoins the party as they’re making their way up the mountainside to confront what they believe to be either a very large drake or very small dragon. As the GM, I am confronted with the scenario of how to handle a set of circumstances that is neither friendly banter with amiable NPCs or “roll initiative” combat encounter- that’s right, I’m blind-sided by a Skills Challenge. Only it turns out that it isn’t a skills challenge after all, because at this point I am only vaguely aware of what a skills challenge is and how it is run. Apparently, in the Dungeon Masters Guide there is a whole section on how to design and run a skills challenge. I have since looked this over but in the meantime I have slowly evolved (or more precisely, revolved) my own guidelines on how to run a skills challenge- some of it (the good part) stolen from the great Rodrigo of Critical Hit and some of it (the inconsistent, problematic part) from my own imagination. In 4e, the DM Guide suggests making a list of primary and secondary skills that the characters might use, and “try to define categories of actions the characters might take.” In my brain, this equals trouble. I will instantaneously outline how the scenario will unfold and which skills are necessary to “win” the challenge. This is not what I want to do. I prefer to establish a goal and then let the players get there by any means necessary, the important aspect is for them to develop the story through their own choices and imagination.
which in turn, led me to the Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide with a whole ‘nother set of skills and modifiers and slots. There’s the Adventuring Proficiencies:
And the Craftsmen Proficiencies:
And there are tables within tables of Weapon making charts and on and on and on. It definitely made for interesting reading, but I don’t ever remember implementing any of it into a game.
I’ve had a look at the Skills system that’s being proposed for D&D Next and it looks similar but different from what we have now in 4e. I’m actually really into the skills challenges and hope to incorporate them into my campaign more frequently. More will be revealed.
BND005 – you got mad skillz bro (live play starts around 13:30)
My play experience is not as extensive as most and I’ve only really played a handful of characters (I’ve spent most of my gametime on the other side of the GM screen). But I do have a couple of favorites- I know, a couple of favorites is not choosing a favorite, it’s a cop out really, but if I chose just one then this post would be even shorter than it’s already going to be.
First off, I’d have to choose my very first character, the one I took all the way up to level crazy. I was a youngster and my friend and I played fast and loose with the rules. I think my character ended up being a 20 something level dwarf Ranger/18th or 19th level Druid, and my friend was an elf Fighter /Magic-user of similar levels. His character’s name was Legolas and I was . . . Brian Boru (bet you thought I was going to say something else). We would switch off being DM/player and hand out massive loot and xp, I think we also set a world record for the most Crits rolled in a 2 year period.
Episode 4 wraps up the exploration of the kobold caves. This episode is the final hour of our group’s second play session, and it opened my eyes to the wide, wide world that the adventurer’s were wandering through. Involuntarily, NPC’s stories began to fill my brainspace and populate the surrounding mountains, forests, hills and dales. I had a rough idea of perhaps two or three “problem” areas in the kingdom that the PC’s might want to investigate, but it was at the end of this session that the story (the lives of the people living in the kingdom) really took over. One of the most appealing aspects of D&D, if not the most appealing, is character creation. When I get a chance to be on the other side of the DM screen I relish the opportunity to piece together a being. As a player I invest a lot more of myself into the character, it really becomes a means of expression. As the GM, I can allow myself to engage in an NPC for a little bit, but I’ve found that if I really put a lot of myself into the NPC I begin to overwhelm the story-telling aspect of the game. I want the character to be interesting and intricate, but I don’t want my attachment to the NPC to overshadow the actions of the player characters. In this episode we get to meet the Kobold Wild Mage- Fekbet.
BND004 – Fekbet, friend…? (gameplay starts around 11:10)
My D&D career began at the ripe, young age of 11- many, many years ago. My older sister brought home the blue box edition of the original D&D rules- the set that came with the chits, no dice. I was fascinated with the game and the artwork especially. I soon discovered that a friend of mine at school had also been introduced to the game and we commenced to rape and pillage the rules of the game until we were decked out in all the highest level magic armor, weapons and rings. My D&D career continued like that for a year or two, and by the time I hit high school I had moved on to other things. But I did make a return after high school to 2nd edition and spent some time playing around with those rules. That was my first real campaign, I made up my own world and took a group of friends through some adventures that lasted roughly a year or two. And now I have returned, who knows? maybe I’m cursed to only play in 2 year increments, but if that is the case then I am planning on making the most of it.
ep003 – Kobold In Your Face (game play starts at about 19:10)
I found this pdf at WotC, the entire article on Kobolds: Creature Incarnations: Kobolds