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Dragon Age is D&D 4.5

Dragon Age is D&D 4.5

I recently grabbed the Dragon Age Quickstart Guide, and I love this system. Haven’t played it yet, which may change my opinion of course, but I love what I see. Were I to design D&D 4.5, I’d make something very similar to Dragon Age. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to describe DA in comparison to D&D 4E. Instead of rolling a d20 on tests, you roll 3d6. This gives you a lovely probability distribution curve, […]

What Do You Want Your Fights to Feel Like?

This applies to GMs and to designers. For GMs: What fights do you want? Take a moment to imagine the feel of those fights. A big, roaring monster? Swarms of mooks rushing at the heroes? A cackling, insulting controller with a bunch of minions? A squad of enemies, each with its own attack patterns? Choose monsters that fit that theme. For designers, this gets more interesting. What sort of conflict do you want in your […]

Castles Were Decoration

I’ve been listening to a series of lectures on historical castles, and it’s changed how I think about castles in an RPG setting. Debate about castles rages, naturally, so take all this with a grain of salt, but: Castles were not just fortifications. Indeed, fortification was a relatively minor element of their function. Castles were homes and symbols of power. Many of them were built to look imposing, and were actually hard […]

D&D 4E Forces More Interesting Stories

D&D 4th Edition makes death rare. A player-character can be knocked unconscious, and one can be dying, but actual character death is generally uncommon. Character death is a big driving force for players, and provides the primary dramatic tension. Death is always scary. For a long time, the possible death of your character (usually via poor Hit Point rolls and good monster Hit Dice rolls) created […]

Playing D&D 4E on IRC

(I’m really unhappy with the way this blog post turned out. But I can’t think of a better way to write it, and I’d rather have it released than sitting in my drafts folder for months. So, here you are.) Last night, as I waited on yet another piece of software, I looked in on the Four Winds Tavern, a freeform IRC channel gamefiend of At Will runs on his IRC server. Folks were conversing, […]

Hobgoblins of the Role-Playing Minds

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I finally finished my Dark Sun adventure. I was so excited that I looked around for other half-finished adventures, and found one. But it wasn’t half-finished. It was 99.9% finished. Literally, I just had to update some stat blocks and I was done. So. If you’re interested in holding off a war party of hobgoblins, then tracking them to their underground lair, check out The Hobgoblins […]

The Business of Art

I pay artists. If you’re an artist, and you’re charging money for your work, please read this post. I love artists. But they’re often, well, frustrating to deal with. I’ve had to terminate my relationship with too many artists. Here’s how to avoid that for your clients: Figure out what you will and won’t do. Communicate that. This is obviously important for taboos like sex or violence towards […]

Tarrasque wip?speedpaint © Blackmane on DeviantArt

The Tarrasque As Threat

RPG geekery to follow. Just finished reading You Are In The Tarrasque over at Daily Encounter, and it has me thinking about how to use the Tarrasque in a game. For those unfamiliar: in D&D, the Tarrasque is a massive, dinosaur-like engine of destruction that wanders the world annihilating things. Imagine a feral dragon with a stick up its butt and a hatred for the world. Its purpose is to rampage through cities, destroying them. The danger here […]

In Defense of Railroading

I’ve been talking with the great folks on the #4eDnD channel at about storytelling in RPGs. (Yes, another role-playing post. It’s been on my mind.) One chatter was telling us about the plot he was pulling his players through, and we were advocating for more player choice. Everyone agreed. Great. But it got me thinking:  what if the players don’t want a lot of choice? There are […]

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