Monday, May 30, 2011

5 by 5 Alignment Chart!

            Well, we’ve done it.  “You’re crazy” they said, but we showed them.  Between Endos, Zedd, and myself we have created the template for a 25 character, 5 by 5, alignment chart!  Now all that’s left to do is come up with characters for all of them…
            We put a lot of thought into it and tried our best to come up with adjectives that best fit the spaces in between good, neutral, and evil and lawful, neutral, and chaotic and this is what we came up with:

Lawful             Social               Neutral            Rebel               Chaotic
Good              Good                Good               Good               Good

Lawful             Social               Neutral            Rebel               Chaotic
Moral              Moral                Moral              Moral                Moral

Lawful             Social               Neutral            Rebel               Chaotic
Neutral            Neutral              Neutral            Neutral            Neutral

Lawful             Social               Neutral            Rebel               Chaotic
Impure            Impure              Impure            Impure              Impure

Lawful             Social               Neutral            Rebel               Chaotic
Evil                 Evil                   Evil                 Evil                  Evil

Sometime within the next week or two we will make an alignment chart with characters for each slot, however, there will not be a specific theme for this one simply because so few shows have that many characters of such a diverse nature.  Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Until next week!



Player Tip of the Week

“Kick down the door” tactics don’t always work. Sometimes this depends on your party, but unless you are all a bunch of Fighters and Barbarians, frontal assaults with no tactics do not often work unless that is how your DM has engineered the encounter.
For instance, in Zedd’s campaign Endos and I have been able to use a specific tactical maneuver where I will attract all of the enemies around me and then he will cast fireball in my square to encompass all of them.  The reason this works is because I have a +14 to reflex saves, which is needed to dodge the blast, and even if it does hit me I have fire resistance of 5 so I would take minimal damage either way.  However, introduce a “break down the door” tactic to this equation and basically you end up with Endos and I looking at a party member who ran right into this melee and ended up with 3rd degree burns because of his less than stellar reflex saves.

DM Tip of the Week

Don’t do things that severely annoy players intentionally. While hopefully this is obvious, some people really like being annoying intentionally.  Don’t do it; it’s just not worth it.
For instance, in a campaign that we were playing there was a player who couldn’t show up all the time. So, because he was a half orc Barbarian, we decided the most logical thing for him to do while we were doing our own stuff was to talk to lampposts.  However, when he resumed playing, it annoyed him to no end that his character was talking to lampposts and he did everything he could to make it where he could not talk to lampposts.  It got to the point where he legitimately would not have a good time if we so much as mentioned lampposts, so I promised I would never mention lampposts again.
Being funny is one thing.  Driving a player crazy because of your antics is another.

Monday, May 23, 2011

D&D and Minecraft?

            Greetings!  Unfortunately, I was not able to play any Oriental Adventures like originally planned, but we should be meeting this Friday.  Also for next week, I should have a pleasant surprise for you all lined up, but no promises (it’s a big project).
In the mean time though, I wanted to share an idea that has been roaming around my head for awhile as to how to take games and programs that are not meant for D&D and convert them for D&D use.  Primarily I am thinking of Minecraft
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Minecraft, it is a creativity game for the PC that you can build ANYTHING with.  From a 1 to 1 scale model of theU.S.S. Enterprise to a working, basic computer, there is little to nothing you can’t do with Minecraft.  If you would like a video review, this one by Yahtzee at the Escapist Magazine I think is best [Warning: this video has explicit language].  

So with this said, why couldn’t you make a dungeon in Minecraft that your players could go dungeoneering through.  Yes this would be a big project for the DM, but if he/she plays Minecraft anyway, then why not?  Traps could be set up with Arrows or Dynamite and Pressure Plates among other things.  Look up Minecraft on Youtube to get an idea of what it is really capable of and then go from there!  Make your own interactive journey through your Minecraft world that is completely of your own creation!  You would have to gauge this with the people you are playing with to see if they would enjoy it, but it was just something to consider. 

Until next week!



Player Tip of the Week

Don’t tell the DM how to do his job.  If you’ve ever played more than one campaign, then you know that DMs all have very different styles of how to lead a game.  However, it is very annoying for the DM and other players when someone starts telling the DM how to run his/her campaign. 
For instance, we had invited a new player to sit in and play as one of our NPCs for a session just so that he could get an idea of how we play and what the “tone” of the room was.  Now, our guest had read and memorized the entire DM Guide and Player’s Handbook, to his credit, but whenever something magic related happened he would tell our DM, Zedd, that it was not possible for the magic thing to happen (like an illusionary dragon that spewed fire that felt real if you didn’t make your Will save).  This was a little annoying to say the least.
Basically, whether the DM is going exactly by the rules or not, it is the DMs campaign and he can run it however he wants to.  It is not the player’s job to tell the DM he’s “doing it wrong” unless it is a mutual conversation and the DM asks for assistance.

HomicidalManda's Mind Flayer character named Biscuits

DM Tip of the Week

Don’t intentionally try and trick your players into doing something they don’t mean to do.   While this is possibly a matter of personal taste, I think that if a DM (a.k.a. the god of his/her D&D world) is trying to trick you then what’s the point?  You can’t outsmart god because he already knows what’s going to happen.  It is for this reason that I don’t believe that a DM should intentionally mislead a player.
For instance, in an older campaign where I was a Bard we were sent to inspect an area with a lot of smoke coming from it.  Once we arrived, we found hundreds of bodies strewn around a big hole in the ground that was producing all the smoke.  We also knew that there was a group of maybe 100 Orcs coming our way and we needed to defeat them somehow.  So, using the bodies to make walls, we built a little channel that basically funneled enemy Orcs into the smoke where we would then throw them into the pit one at a time.
I was going to stand on the other side of the smoke column, and I said to the DM I wanted to play some pleasant music to entice them into the channel.  So the DM said “Would you say that you were playing heavenly music?” and I replied “sure” not thinking anything of it.  Well, as I played and as we threw Orcs into the pit, the smoke turned black and rumbling sounds could be heard.  So we ran.  Come to find out later in the campaign that because I played heavenly music as opposed to pleasant music a horde of angry demons spewed from the smoke and destroyed a nearby village…
If this is just your DM style then I guess by all means mess with your players like this. However, it is generally just a jerk move that players will not usually appreciate.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Alignments In All Their Glory

            Greetings!  This week I have bad news and I have good news.  Bad news is that our DM has gone home for the summer and we will not be able to continue with our current campaign until the end of the summer.  The good news though, is that I will be starting a new campaign with some other friends of mine.  This campaign will actually be using the “Oriental Adventure” 3rd edition book that is basically the Asian culture version of D&D.  This is my first time playing an “Oriental Adventures” campaign so it should be interesting to say the least.  I’ll post updates on the campaign as we progress.
            But for the mean time, let’s talk alignment.  While we have been posting tons of alignment charts, I feel like I should give the criteria that we generally use to determine each character for their alignment.  Granted, not all of these criteria are perfectly met, but the goal is to make it as close as possible.  Also, for some alignments there are multiple interpretations so we take that into account as well.  So without further ado, here they are:

Lawful Good:  One interpretation of this is a character that will do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do even if there is no benefit whatsoever to the character.  Another, darker, interpretation is a character that will slay all evil in the world and is for absolute justice.  If a person steps out of line, the Lawful Good character will be the first to throw them in jail or kill them.

Neutral Good: This is the overall good guy.  Sure, he’ll help you move your furniture, and then afterward will go have a few beers with ya.  He’s not going to out of his way to uphold the law but he’ll definitely follow it to the best of his ability.

Chaotic Good: Basically Robin Hood; a character that does what he feels is right, without regard to whether the action is legal. A Chaotic Good character follows their own conscience and tries to uphold the ideals of justice, even if they feel the law gets in the way of it.

Lawful Neutral:  A character that is devoted to the law to the extent that the morality of an issue is not even considered.  Typically, a Lawful Neutral character will not make judgements on matters of right or wrong, but simply whether it is against the law or not.  This is a more "diplomatic" and slightly passive alignment.

True Neutral: There are quite a few interpretations to True Neutral, but the most basic one is apathy for almost everything.  A second interpretation is one of a person that is motivated by nothing but what immediately benefit him/herself; frequently a backstabber where the character is the first to switch sides. Another is the single goal-driven character, pursuing his aspiration above all else, no matter what it takes. There are a few other interpretations out there, but these are the main ones.

Chaotic Neutral:  Generally a wild card, a Chaotic Neutral character can both be willing to help others or hurt them all in the same day.  A character of this nature is hard to read, but easy to play.  They value personal freedom above all else, and hate the restrictions of rules or even morality. Basically, they do what they want because they can.

Lawful Evil:  This is the corrupt politician, the crooked lawyer, the mafia boss, or a general bad guy that has some sort of personal code of conduct.  Lawful evil is more difficult than other evil because it has a standard to uphold, while doing evil things.  Basically, think evil with a structure.

Neutral Evil:  This is the calm, collected, stealthy, and merciless evil that is characteristic of a person that does evil for personal benefit.  They may be willing to work with others, but the goals are mostly self-centered. They murder when convenient, and cannot be trusted to keep their word.

Chaotic Evil:  Basically a character that does evil for evil’s sake.  This character acts almost completely randomly and likes to just destroy things.  A Chaotic Evil Character would push over barrels just for being there, kill someone because they looked at him wrong, or burn down a town because he could.

For an ample amount of examples of these characteristics, just look at the Alignment Charts section of the site and see for yourself.

Until next week!


Quote of the Week

Raz: Something’s not right here…
Alexander: I don’t care.

Player Tip of the Week

Don’t fight your own party members unless it’s by DM request.  While this doesn’t usually happen, if you have characters of vastly different alignment sometimes fights can break out between players in game.   This can have potentially disastrous effects on party synergy and can even affect how the players treat each other in real life.
For instance, in one of the campaigns that I was DMing, we had a Lawful Good Paladin and a Neutral Evil Rogue in the same party.  After rescuing a poor village from a curse that had befallen it, the Rogue demanded payment of some sort while the Paladin didn’t want anything.  Well, one thing led to another and the Rogue ended up threatening the townsfolk with his sword, but the Paladin wouldn’t allow it.  So they fought, the Paladin killed the Rogue, and I had to hit the rewind button on the scenario and just tell them what happened so that they wouldn’t attack each other again.
Long story short, don’t attack your party members.  If you are evil, avoid doing evil in front of your good friend and if you are good let some of the smaller stuff slide with your evil ally.  In the long run this will save the party much grief and all will be peaceful.

Courtesy of Colin-Ashcroft
DM Tip of the Week

Be careful when incorporating dragons.  While I suppose it is understood that Dragons are a big part of D&D, often times it is not fully understood, especially by new DMs, just how powerful they really are.  Dragons, unless dumbed down considerably, can be a huge challenge for characters that are level 10 or less.  Even some of the younger dragons can be a big challenge if not executed in just the right fashion.
For instance, just recently in our current campaign (the one with Zedd), we had an encounter that involved us fighting a Green Dragon that we had just tried to warn of Darken Rahl’s plan to drain the life force of dragons.  We were roughly level 7 or 8 at this point and this Green Dragon kicked the crap out of us and we only just barely beat it.  Luckily for us, our DM had made severe adjustments to its abilities and stats so that it couldn’t one hit KO us.
Zedd did a good job, and has continued to do a good job, at making dragons beatable for us, but even at level 10 (where we are now) we still probably could not beat a full fledged adult dragon with no changes to its stats or abilities.  Point is, if you are going to incorporate dragons, do it very carefully.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Roll A d6

Greetings!  This week is a rather busy one for me due to final exams so I will not have a full post this week.  Thus, I will leave you with a very clever piece of media that I have discovered just a few days ago.  This song is called "Roll a d6", which, as you can imagine, is a D&D spoof of the song "Like a g6" by Far East Movement.  Garnering almost 300,000 views in four days, this is truly a noteworthy video.  Enjoy!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Holidays Come With Interesting Surprises

            Greetings!  Hope everyone had a pleasant Easter.  My apologies for the lack of posting last weekend.  However, this weekend proved to be an excellent source of inspiration.  Endos and I cranked out a ton of alignment charts that I think you should enjoy in coming weeks.
For this week though, I would like to pay tribute to our current DM Zedd for coming up with a simple, but ingenious idea that could be applied in almost any D&D campaign.  Holiday Specials!  Basically, what we did was had a holiday themed side quest(s) where we got to find Easter eggs that when broken had a magic item inside.  Also, we had an Easter Rabbit themed dungeon that we traversed where we found a golden egg at the end (that we don’t know the significance of yet) and got to fight two Chimeras that had Rabbit heads instead of normal ones. 
However, the “holiday drops” don’t end here.  Once we obliterated the Chimeras, we were all splattered in their blood, which caused most of us to gain a new mutation.  Now, I don’t believe I’ve mentioned how all our characters seem obsessed about mutations, but with all of our current mutations we could all easily pass as extra-planar beings.  Here’s what we all have thus far:

Endos: Fangs, red eyes, a snake’s tongue, lightning tattoos all over his head, and now he has TWO heads with one head having rabbit teeth instead of fangs.
Raz: Rat tail was replaced with a blue dragon tail and spines, a holy symbol on my forehead, and now a bunny poof at the end of my dragon tail that allows me to shoot lightning from it.
Alexander: Glowing green eyes and now every time he eats a carrot he regains half his health.
Aurora: Blue dragon wings and now bunny paws and bunny ears.

As you can see, we’ve gotten quite out of control.

Until Next Week!



Player Tip of the Week

Know who you can and can’t stand to play with. While this may be a bit obvious, you want to play with people that you know will work well together both in and out of game.   The thing is, if you only just tolerate a person in real life, even if they want to play with you, it is usually best to avoid it.  I don’t say this to be mean or cold hearted, but for a campaign to go smoothly you have to like who you play with.
I would give a “For instance” for this one, but you know what I mean…

An awesome D&D background courtesy of Snoo-Snoo

DM Tip of the Week

Try to limit the amount of BS.  What I mean by this is try to limit how many thing that happen in the campaign that  a) limit what characters can do, b) makes no sense in the slightest, and c) are almost completely random.  There are probably more factors that go along with this, but my point is limit how often one particular character has a convenient stomach flu to prevent him from participating in an activity that others in your party are doing.  Being struck by lightning on a sunny day would be another example. 
However, the best example I have ever head was not in one of my campaigns but in someone else’s that I found online.  Basically the player and his party had built more or less a horse drawn tank using a cart, shields, and other items.  Great idea, right?  Well the DM didn’t like this tank so he made bandits attack them for the tank. The party killed the bandits.  More bandits arrived, so the party killed them too. Then even more bandits showed up and made off with the tank. Naturally they followed the bandits, and after a day or so they found the horses dead on the road leading into a desert, with not a single footprint in sight.  So basically, an infinite number of bandits carrying a tank on their backs, through a desert, without leaving any footprints.  This, my friends, is BS.