Monday, January 15, 2018

A D&D Anecdote

I am running D&D at Bounce Milwaukee, a local indoor play park as part of my Dungeon Master on Demand services. Here's what happened the first night we played:

Three boys played tonight. They were sent to recover a dwarf who had not reported back home. They came across a wagon that had been turned into a goblin battle fortress with a goblin patrolling the roof.

The boys decide to talk to the goblin (since one of them discovered he could speak their language). After a brief exchange, they ask him his name. The goblin says he has no name, because he hasn't killed anybody yet. One of the boys goes into a heartfelt monologue about the goblin doesn' t need to kill somebody to get a name. I ask the kid to roll a Persuade check to get the goblin to point out where the rest of his tribe had taken the dwarf.

Natural 20.

The goblin, stunned by this revelation, sits down on the edge of the wagon and has a serious change of heart. He stands up, ready to help these Tall Ones find their friend.

And that's when another goblin sneaks up from behind and stabs the first goblin, pushing him off the wagon to bleed out.

"You guys," says the kid, "we have to save the cool goblin!"

"Okay," I say, "roll initiative."

Once we set the order, I point out to the paladin, the only healer in the party, that he's their best shot at saving the cool goblin. He can get to the goblin first, but he's putting himself in harm's way and will likely have to deal with goblin attack while he's out there healing. Also, if he uses his healing on the goblin, he won't have any for the rest of the group if the battle goes poorly.

"We gotta save him," say the others.

"We do," says the paladin and runs out from behind cover. After a round of poor rolls from the goblins, he drops all 5 points of healing into the friendly goblin, who pops up, grabs a knife off of a dead ex-comrade and says "Ok, what do you need me to do?"

The players ask the goblin to lead them to their friend, which he does after they tear up the goblin battle wagon. They ask him what his name should be. He tells them the goblin lord is the one who gives names based on deeds, and the boys say he's earned the right to take his own name. He pauses, asks about the meaning of this Common word they keep using to describe him, and decides to choose it as his name.

That is how the power of friendship and loyalty can make a nearly 40 year old man get choked up in front of strangers.

That is how Kuul the Goblin Rogue was born.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Harry Potter - Fate Accelerated Hack

When I talk about licensed games, one of the IP that I always get questions about is Harry Potter. This setting has an immense, passionate fandom. Why is there no tabletop RPG? The answer to that is a lot of heresay plus my own conjecture. The follow up question is: Well, what system would you use to run a HP game? My answer is, inevitably, Fate. Specifically, Accelerated because I think its abstractness does a good job at modelling established fictional characters.

So, after years, of suggesting it, I finally decided to do it. It's not a heavy hack, which its why I shied away from it for so long, but the itch to design it finally irritated me enough to put it down on blog paper.

Follow my Harry Potter Fate Accelerated (Fate Accio?) hack after the jump!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Actual Play - Extra Life at Gamehole Con

I had a fantastic experience this weekend at GameHole Con. It's become one of my favorite conventions throughout the year.

On Friday night, I took a rare opportunity to sit on the player's side of things for a chance to play D&D 5th. I raised over $1000 bucks for Extra Life by drinking and playing an RPG.

I was a last minute add, so I had to improvise ways to get people to give money. I figured hey, I'll do a shot at $250 a pop because I'm playing a drunken master monk. Nobody would be crazy enough to do that!

I raised over $1000 that way. I remember we all went up to Mearls' room after the game, talked gaming and ate pizza, but that could just be the caramel vodka talking.

If you want to see the whole thing, the archived Twitch link is here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Appearance - Extra Life

I know I've already talked about Gamehole Con here, but something happened today that is worthy of its own blog entry.

I will be part of the Wizards of the Coast live stream on Friday night playing D&D with Mike Mearls!

The other folks at my table include:

  • Chris Lindsay
  • Satine Phoenix
  • Pat Kilbane
  • David Ewalt
  • Ruty Rutenberg
I think I'm going to play a monk? 

Anyway, tickets are available here if you are going to the show.

If you want to donate money to encourage me, go to Mike's page and tell 'em I sent you.

The livestream should be here if you want to watch on Twitch

Monday, October 23, 2017

Convention - Gamehole Con

Gamehole Con returns to Madison from November 2nd through November 5th this year. I'll be a special guest again, but there are plenty of other reasons to check out this growing convention.

Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

If you really want to see how popular the current edition is, this show has a lot of things going on. There are Epic level con games with massive amounts of players, a variety of Adventurer's League storylines (including one I had a hand in), and guests like Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford.

Xanathar's Guide For Charity

Gamehole has hooked up with Extra Life to provide a couple of  'celebrity D&D' games to raise money for charity in the style of Acquisitions Incorporated. They are also offering early copies of the highly anticipated Xanathar's Guide to Everything, proceeds of which will go to charity.

True Dungeon

Last year was the first year True Dungeon appeared outside of Gen Con. It's back at Gamehole Con this year, set in the universe of Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller books.

Milwaukee Company of Gamers

The always impressive board game library of MilCog will be on the road. It's an excellent place to try board games before you buy.

Come play games with me

I'll be running Firefly and Chill this year as part of my Guest of Honor duties. All my games are currently sold out, but the vagaries of con attendance usually mean I have one or two open seats when the time comes for game. Will I run two full boat sessions for Firefly with 9 players each? Only time will tell.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Star Wars Adventure Review - The Game Chambers of Questal

This is an ongoing series of reviews of classic West End Games Star Wars RPG adventures. I've run a few, read a few more and not touched a few since I bought them over the past 30 years. I'll look at them for a few different angles, including what I would change to bring the adventure to my table.

Adventure title: The Game Chambers of Questal

Author(s): Richard Kern 

Published: June 1990

The Pitch: The Rebels come looking for an old friend on a planet run by a Moff who loves to play games with his adversaries.

Summary: An adventure that's part James Bond, part "A Most Dangerous Game", part dungeon crawl and, on the whole, less than the sum of its meager parts.

In-depth review with SPOILERS after the jump!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Star Wars Adventure Review - Otherspace

This is an ongoing series of reviews of classic West End Games Star Wars RPG adventures. I've run a few, read a few more and not touched a few since I bought them over the past 30 years. I'll look at them for a few different angles, including what I would change to bring the adventure to my table.

Adventure title: Otherspace

Author(s): Bill Slavicsek 

Published: 1989

The Pitch: The Rebels must journey into another dimension to locate a lost Rebel prison transport and come across the death-obsessed aliens who live there.

Summary: An adventure that attempts to bring the claustrophobic terror of the Alien franchise to the Star Wars universe. Instead, it shows that two great tastes don't always go together.

In-depth review with SPOILERS after the jump!