I’ve mentioned before that I like to prepare very little. That’s why I think character backgrounds are overestimated. Writing many pages of character background at home is the same thing as pouring over the rules at home. The beauty of D&D is that both storytellers and powergamers get to play minigame at home, all by themselves.
Sure, as a dungeon master I get to play a similar minigame – worldbuilding!
But I’ve come to the conclusion that the really important thing is playing at the table. That’s where the game happens. All important things should happen at the table. If people write session reports and post lots of information on a Campaign Wiki, that’s cool. In a way, other players reading these texts are also engaging in a sort of minigame that they’re playing by themselves.
The important thing to realize is that all these minigames should be optional in order to appeal to casual gamers. Casual gamers are also engaging in minigames between sessions – they are reading books, practicing martial arts, dancing, and many other things.
The important things happen at the table.
Participating at the table is the only mandatory thing in my games. I have powergamers, storytellers, casual gamers, kick ass gamers – and they’re all playing at the table. It took me a while to recognize the between session activities as perfectly valid minigames. That’s why I try not to punish powergamers for their Rules Mastery, and that’s why I read the background stories players submit – and that’s why, as a player, I don’t expect all the players to read my background stories, and that’s why I don’t expect the dungeon master to incorporate a lot of my backstory into the game. I recognize that these are all just minigames people play between sessions.
I got my printed issues #6, #7, and #8 of Kobold Quarterly today! Yay, all issues resolved ⇒ Alex happy.
With that, I get to ask myself whether I want to renew or not. Should I read some more Kobold Quarterly? It’s moving towards 4E, and I don’t want to go there. But are Fight On and my Paizo subscriptions good enough a replacement? I’ll have to study the three issues carefully. I hardly spend time reading PDF files, so I haven’t really looked at them until now.
Nachdem ich auf dem Web las warum es im Kerker immer hell ist (ab D&D 4), und warum Waffenknechte und Gefolgsleute cool sind, habe ich beschlossen, dass ich sowas gerne in meinen Spielen fördern möchte.
Eine Möglichkeit wäre, die D&D Regeln zum Thema Gewicht etc. durchzusetzen. Das führt aber immer zu Diskussionen über die Anzahl Köcher oder Speere, die einer mitschleppen kann. Ich habe eine Weile lang versucht, mit “das sieht doch einfach bescheuert aus, denk’ dir was anderes aus” zu antworten, aber so richtig zufrieden macht mich das nicht.
Für meine M20 Hard Core Regeln habe ich eine simple Limite der Anzahl Gegenstände vorgeschlagen: Sechs Gegenstände (neben Rüstung, Schild und Waffen) griffbereit, sechs Gegenstände im Rucksack, und gewisse Gruppierungen (man zählt Köcher statt Pfeile, beispielsweise).
Vielleicht sollte ich diese Regel mal auch an meinen regulären D&D Abenden einführen: Sechs Dinge zur Hand, sechs Dinge im Gepäck, und den Rest müssen Waffenknechte und Gefolgsleute tragen. Waffenknechte halten sich aus den Kämpfen raus, kriegen keine XP, verlangen keinen Anteil an der Beute, passen auf die Pferde am Höhleneingang auf, tragen die Fackeln, das viele Geld, zeichnen die Karten, und so weiter.
Wir wär’s recht.
Hat heute wieder Spass gemacht. Mittwoch ist ja mein “Joker” Tag – entweder spielen ich in Peters Grenzmarken Kampagne, oder ich spiele Battle Lore mit Marcel, oder ich arbeite bis spät in die Nacht (auch das ist leider möglich) – oder ich gehe an den Spielabend im Quartiertreff Zentralstrasse, der von Beat Liechti organisiert wird. Heute haben wir Comuni gespielt. Die Spielregeln waren kompliziert und nicht schnell zu begreifen, aber nach der zweiten Runde hat es dann doch Spass gemacht und Claudia hat gewonnen.
I’m thinking of moving the iBook laptop to Ubuntu 8.04. Before spending more time on that, however, I decided to make a backup of the entire 60G laptop disk. Easy, I thought. I was already using rsync to backup my home directory from the laptop. But I’ve been waiting for about two hours now, and rsync is still busy:
receiving file list ... 11622300 files...
Damn. I abandoned the rsync via the wireless network, restarted the iBook in firewire mode and attached it as an external harddisk to the desktop computer controlling the backup device. Then I once again used rsync because I wanted to avoid copying my home directory again. Let’s see how this works.
Well, that certainly did take a long time. Specially since I managed to overwrite the backup with some other data, first, negating all possible positive effects of using rsync in the first place.
Reading Basic D&D: Choose Your Weapon, Dwimmermount Campaign House Rules, Philotomy's OD&D Musings on Multiple Attacks, Weapon vs. what?, Shields Shall be Splintered! and the various features each weapon in the D&D 3.5 weapon list, I cannot shake the feeling that it would be cool to produce a small list of weapons and fighting styles, giving each of them a kind of special feature.
Instead of starting with a list of weapons, perhaps it would be better to start at the end and ask: How many weapons should the list have? How many features will I therefore need to differentiate between them all?
Here are the things I would love to see:
Things I’ll ignore:
And then I suddenly go whaaaaaaa… This is too damn complicated. It’ll result in a minigame where people start optimizing weapons against armor, it’ll introduce discussions of what was developed in reaction what, the exact time period equivalent we’re playing in, and I don’t want to go there.
But I cannot resist… How about this? The effective bonus would mean “ignores part of the protective value of the armor”. The “Chains” column is for all sorts of flails. We’re ignoring tripping, disarming, and all sorts of other combat maneuvers. Those should be resolved by common sense instead of rules.
|Weapon vs. Armor Type||Slashing||Piercing||Bludgeoning||Chains|
|Unarmed (AC 9)||0||0||0||0|
|Leather (AC 7)||+1||0||0||0|
|Chain (AC 5)||0||+1||0||0|
|Plate (AC 3)||0||0||+1||0|
|Shield (AC -1)||0||0||0||+1|
What about Monsters, you say? Easy. Anything wearing armor is resolved as indicated above. Most things having a “natural” armor shall be considered wearing leather armor. This makes swords a good choice against all sorts of monsters, which is a nice touch.
What remains to be handled:
That would be as far as I would take it, I think.
Based Retrospective: Empire of the Petal Throne and An Ancient Scourge by James Maliszewski and Sand Castle What? by Dave Bowman I decided to give Tékumel another look. Apparently you can buy a reprint of the original rules from http://tekumel.com/tita/ept.html – email sent.
Based on an email I received just now, I was suddenly inspired to write the following:
To whom it may concern,
I’ve heard from the Free Software Foundation that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is trying to propose a standard encumbered by a patent claimed by !RedPhone Security. I heard that !RedPhone has given a license to anyone who implements the protocol, but they still threaten to sue anyone that uses it.
Patents are a tricky issue for Free Software. As a developer of Free Software, I urge you to reconsider the proposal and push for a standard unencumbered by patents. Patents will lead to problems, as you must know based on the discussion around RFC 2026 section 10 leading to RFC 3668 and your position that “The IESG will not make any explicit determination that the assurance of reasonable and non-discriminatory terms or any other terms for the use of an Implementing Technology has been fulfilled in practice.” To avoid them now is to save others from all the legal risks involved.
It is unfortunate that the patent situation in the USA has lead to this. But knowing that software patent problems cannot be resolved right here and right now, avoiding them and building truly open standards is the only promising option.
Regards from Switzerland
Wow, I’m having a flashback as a friend at work reminded me of how we used to waste time online in the old days: LochNess MUD and Elendor MUSH. Both still have Telnet links on their homepages. Those were the days.
What is thy name? ... troll, giant, dwarf, human, fairy or elf? ... Are thou male, female or other: ...
You are in the antechamber of the local Lal temple.
Last Tuesday my dwarven wizard got hit by a stone dropping ogre and nearly died. My wizard had been sticking to the outside castle walls, keeping one of the ogres busy. The rest of the party was in the courtyard fighting worgs, ogre barbarians, and worse. I had the upper hand against the ogre using Scorching Ray and two Grease spells, but when those ran out, the ogre managed to drop a rock on my head, bringing me down to -9. I used a luck point for a reroll, hoping for less damage, and got up to -7. I managed to utter the words for Feather Fall and fell – on the outside of the walls, far away from any healing. And I managed to stabilize on the next round! I was lucky… That was in our German West Marches style game, Grenzmarken. This is a sandbox game.
Last Monday we played in our Rise of the Runelords game. Most of the party had been captured by the Thistletop goblins and started the session in a cell with the mercenary Orik staring at them, trying to figure out whether he wanted to rescue them or not. A player had recently returned to our table after an extended holiday, and so he was leading a rescue mission with Shalelu and a pirate at his side. Within minutes the rescue party had found the entrance via the tentamort cavern and rescued the prisoners. Well done! I liked how the Thistletop dungeon had two extra entrances. This is an adventure path, obviously.
Last weekend we went skiing, so we skipped a Sunday game. The monday after that I was sick and we skipped a Monday game.
Sunday two weeks ago, we played in my Alder King game. The party retrieved some stone tablets from a cavern without searching for secret doors. I think Claudia had thought that elves will detect all secret doors automatically with no search required, which is why she didn’t specifically search everything even though finding more stone tablets were part of her quest to discover the lost city of the shadow elves. They then went to talk to the king of the flying monkeys and decided to fight some kuo-toa for him; in return he had promised air support in the war against the humans. This is another sandbox game. We’re playing in Dangerous Jungle on the Lenap map of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.
The Monday before that we played in the James’ City of the Spider Queen game. There was a lot of fighting to be had until our monk died, at which point we decided to teleport out. The session ended with a dozen teleport misshaps and we’ll have to figure out where we’re reappearing first thing coming Monday. I’m not quite sure what style of game this is. It feels like the beginning of a mini campaign, but in the only two sessions we’ve played it has been quite a combat-heavy game with us taking the most direct route and overcoming every opposition using violence. Time will tell. I’m planning to make some changes to my character based on the loss of our comrade. I’m assuming her soul will not object to returning to the Material Plane.
Upcoming games: More Alder King tomorrow, the continuation of City of the Spider Queen on Monday, the continuation of our Shackled City game next Sunday, Rise of the Runelords on Monday in eight days, and our rare Echoes of Heaven game on the Wednesday after that.
That’s my gaming for February.
Life is good. Very good. :D
I’m also looking forward to two sesions of Labyrinth Lord with a friend and his three kids in March.
Gerd Arntz designed around 4000 signs, which symbolized key data from industry, demographics, politics and economy, for the visual language Isotype. 
It looks cool & retro.
This is the same blog that gives us excellent sources for old map making:
If you love some map inspiration for your D&D lifestyle, you should subscribe to their feed.
Auf dem Atrópía Blog fand ich einen Auruf an Rollenspielhändler. Ich befürchte allerdings, dass die Rollenspielläden in Zürich nicht ganz so online “affin” sind, und habe mal die nötige Info selber zusammengesucht.
Tel.: ++41 44 241 96 95
Öffnungszeiten: Mo-Mi, Fr 10:00-18:30 Uhr, Do 10:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-16:30
In der Nähe der Haltestelle Stauffacher
Rien Ne Va Plus
Tel: ++41 44 261 1161
In der Nähe der Haltestelle Helmhaus
Rien Ne Va Plus hat keinen Web Auftritt und deswegen müsste ich da persönlich anrufen, um die Öffnungszeiten herauszufinden. Aber ich hasse es, zu telefonieren!
Gibt’s noch andere Läden, von denen ich nichts weiss?
Update: Oliware hat zugemacht.
Wichtig und gut fand ich noch folgenden Hinweis:
Da es sich bei Astrópía um ein richtiges Ladenlokal handelt, werden übrigens keine E-Mail-Adressen und URLs veröffentlicht. Es geht ausdrücklich darum, den Kunden den Weg in gemütliche, freakige, lebendige, abenteuerliche Läden wie im Film zu weisen. 
“Sometimes we don’t agree with the dm’s decision, we don’t argue, just call him a rat bastard and move on with the game.” – JRRNeiklot 
Instead of reading the books for the English BookClub, I’ve been reading the series Malazan Book of the Fallen for a while now. I decided to take a break and read one of the pulp books I’ve been quietly collecting recently. Inspired by the review in the Grognardia Pulp Fantasy Gallery I picked The Broken Sword, where a human changeling raised in elven courts battles trolls and giants at the side of elven hunters, his human love, and faery gods. I’m approaching the end, and I really like it up to now.
I’ve accumulated lots of points on BookMooch – more than 180 points at the moment. But I’m having two problems:
There’s a local exchange site here in Switzerland called Exsila. The problem there is that I have to assign a price to my books. While adding the book to your inventory, the site suggests to use the retail price (?), but I’m sure nobody wants to pay that much. This was easy for BookMooch: Every book is two points; sending outside your country is an extra point.
So what happened is that I entered a dozen books and looked at my listing. Ten of my books were listed as “best price” but two samples revealed that I was also the only one with the book in question. The two books were I was not “best price” seemed to be going for 10% or 20% of the price the system had suggested to me. Damn. Go back and edit those prices? Hope to score? Compare with Amazon?