RPG Review – The Convocation

Reviewing The Convocation a 5E compatible supplement about Griffon riders written by Matt Click and released by Absolute Tabletop, it is available from Drivethrurpg:

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/173201/The-Convocation

Mapping for Three Brothers D&D Campaign

Since my Star Wars game has been cancelled this evening but I’m all caffeined up anyway, thought I’d write about the mapping that I’ve recently done for my upcoming Three Brothers D&D 5E Campaign. Continue reading “Mapping for Three Brothers D&D Campaign”

Three Brothers Gazeteer

For those of you who read my blog regularly you’ll know that I’ve just started work on preparing a campaign world called the Three Brothers to run a regular D&D 5E game in, the world is essentially one that was taken over by the Gith and all the people enslaved, one hundred years before the campaign began, three individuals (an elf, dwarf and human who came to be known as the three brothers) lead the people in a rebellion that saw the Gith being cast down and the races freed. Continue reading “Three Brothers Gazeteer”

Getting started for my D&D game – The Welsh Piper

As with many things in life (and as someone in my workplace has just remarked to me) when one door closes another often opens, and although the door has closed (well, shut a little bit) on Star Wars, at least for my regular Sunday group, although I’ll still be running one-shots and trilogies in a galaxy far, far away under the auspices of the Tides of Change roleplaying community for as long as people want to keep playing them, we’ve decided to try something different, a D&D 5E campaign. Continue reading “Getting started for my D&D game – The Welsh Piper”

[RPG] D&D 5E character background – Skamos Sorrowson

I’m going to be playing in my first D&D 5E game in a few days, it’s a two-shot dungeon crawl inspired by the Tomb of Horrors being run by Rob ‘theSwamper’ Davis and featuring a host of other great players such as Alex ‘Captain Gothnog’ Gillot, Thashif Muran and Sameoldji; really looking forward to it, we’re genning 15th level characters and i’ve settled on a Tiefling rogue called Skamos Sorrowson, during my dinner break I though that i’d have a quick go at knocking up a background, below is what I came up with:

Alignment – CG

Skamos Sorrowson was born to the noble house of Turuval in the great City of Marapolean; whilst initially happy to be given a son at last the Patriarch of the family Michael Turuval was incensed when the childs infernally tainted features became obvious shortly after the birth, for a long time the child was shut up in doors and Michael would speak to no-one, not even his wife Sareena, who he secretly suspected of having been unfaithful to him, after all there was no way that such devilish features could have originated in his own family. The knowledge ate away at him like a cancer until it drove Michael mad and, one dark night, he gathered his loyal bodyguard to him and strode through the house determined to put an end to the cursed child; Sareena stood blocking their path, determined that no-one would kill her child, she was stabbed fatally for her efforts, but even with her last breath she triumphed, her sacrifice had given a loyal manservant time to steal away from the house carrying the child with him.

Originally the plan had been for the manservant Tollamy to carry the child to Sareena’s own family in a distant steading, but as with many things in life, things did not go according to plan and Tollamy ran afoul of the noted thief and footpad Vernius Mudge and his burgeoning gang of the thieves, the Clawed Hand. Determined to carry out his final orders the manservant refused to surrender his charge and was shot before he could leave the bounds of the city, throwing open the carriage, the robbers found not the gold and jewels they expected but a strange child who had an odd devilish look abot him; Mudge’s second in command, a half-orc brute by the name of Ramus, pulled out a knife ready to end the child’s life and as he did so the knife vanished to reappear in the crib next to the infant, smiling Mudge pronounced it a sign from the gods that the clawed hand was destined for greatness and that he would take the child as his own, naming it Skamos (after a child that he had long ago in another life, who had died along with it’s mother).

Mudge’s prophesy seemed to be true as the Clawed Hand, with Skamos as a member, rose to become the ruling thieves guild in the city.

Skamos initially harboured a great deal of hatred against the nobility (although Mudge had only told him the very basics about his history, raising him like his own son) and initially began adventuring as a way to make himself powerful enough to take revenge on those who had cast him; over the course of a long adventuring career he came to understand that the worth of a person was not defined by their class or their riches but by their own actions and the people they regarded as friends and finally he achieved some measure of peace before retiring from his adventuring days and returning to rule the Clawed Hand thieves as second, alongside the aging Verinus Mudge, who welcomed the return of his beloved son. 

(Please note the Tiefling picture is copyright 2009 Wizards of the Coast, it is used for non-profit making purposes and no challenge is intended to copyright)

[Art-RPG] Drawing a Cartoon Me

A short while ago someone commented on one of my videos (sorry I can’t remember who, I have an abysmal memory for names) suggesting that perhaps I should focus more on the audio elements of my RPG reviews etc given the amount of referencing written notes that I do in my videos; thinking about this the person had a point, I do tend to write down fairly comprehensive notes and then reference them frequently during a video to make sure that I don’t miss anything or leave anything out (all too easy to do with my lack of memory power). I considered moving across to an entirely audio format such as a podcast or something similar, it would be much easier for me to create and edit the files, not to mention taking far less time to upload than the normally lamentable times on Youtube; however, I don’t want to abandon the visual element entirely since i’ve very much enjoyed making Youtube videos and hosting them, plus getting involved with the whole Youtube RPG Brigade.

I also considered just doing an audio feed and then adding a static image over the top, as i’ve done with some of my Sunday RP Rambles and the recent RPG interviews that I did at Dragonmeet 2014, but, although this works fine for interviews it’s not particularly interesting to look at; one possible answer came when I was watching a Youtube video about conspiracy theories, effectively the creator of the video had made a slideshow of still images that were keyed to show up at certain points of the video. Having recently started experimenting with using the program Inkscape to create vector drawings (after it was recommended by Alex Gillot) I decided to have a go at creating a cartoon version of myself that could potentially be used to quickly create a series of images to go with the audio feed.

This is what I ended up with (not bad for a first attempt I don’t think):

I’m thinking of making a sample video using the cartoon version of me in the near future to see what it looks like, i’m hoping this might be a chance to combine my love of making RPG videos with my recently re-discovered (and long dormant) enjoyment of drawing (plus giving me more practice at using Inkscape); would love to hear your opinions and thoughts, send them to reddicediaries@gmail.com 🙂

Did 4th Edition D&D kill roleplaying?

To save you worrying, i’ll answer the title question first of all; no of course 4th edition didn’t kill roleplaying.
This blog post is a response to Diane Morrison’s blog post:
Diane requested some input and responses on the G+ Roleplaying Games community, these are my own thoughts on the topic.
Now, before I get into my response, just to give you a bit of background, I started playing D&D with second edition, played 3.0, 3.5, 4th edition and also Pathfinder; i’m not the worlds largest fan of 4th edition (as anyone who will know me will attest) however I do have a fair few books from that edition. I have also signed on to view the playtest materials for the 5th edition of the game (D&D Next). I also find myself in the odd position of being one of the (seemingly few) people who, whilst not an ardent fan of 4th edition, does not find the game extremely objectionable. Whilst I think that the influence of MMORPGs and other computer roleplaying games is clear to see in D&D 4th edition it is only natural that the people designing it have looked around for an element to pull newer people into the hobby and grow their customer base, since Wizards of the Coast is a business at the end of the day; however, the game does feel very divorced from previous editions of D&D, a brave move that didn’t (in my opinion) work completely and that may have alienated many fans of the previous edition.
I was slightly disappointed when I realised that the 3.0/3.5 edition of D&D would be wrapped up (given that I have shelves groaning with core as well as OGL products) and so was extremely happy when Paizo picked up the ball and created Pathfinder (a game I very much enjoy despite the somewhat increased default power levels of standard player characters); however I like to think that i’ve given 4th edition a fair crack of the whip and I have a number of books from that line.
It does seem as though 4th edition was not the runaway success that WotC were hoping it would be as, scant few years after it was released (four years if my Google-fu serves me correctly) a new edition (D&D Next) of the game has been announced and playtests are well underway for that, this is compared to the eight or so years that 3.0/3.5 had. However, I don’t think that D&D 4th Edition came anywhere near to ‘kill[ing] the company’ given that D&D is only a small part (comparatively) of the WotC product line and that they have fair more lucrative and profitable products on the market than Dungeons & Dragons. 
So back to the main question of this blog post, did 4th edition kill roleplaying? Well no, it really didn’t, D&D is far from the only RPG in the market, it’s not even the only fantasy game in the market and, if I had found 4th edition so terribly objectionable (which to be honest I didn’t) then it would have been easy to get my fantasy fix elsewhere. I also think a rules system would have to go a long way in order to completely be devoid of roleplay; yes 4th edition did introduce a more tactical/miniatures battle element of the game and utilised phraseology based on computer RPGs such as the idea of people having different roles within a party, but I don’t think any of these things (or others elements introduced in the edition) quashed roleplay.
Although not a massive fan of 4th edition personally, since i’m not really a great lover of tactical combat and miniatures based stuff, I can see how people who were into that could enjoy it and more power to them; I do not think that the rules intrinsically support roleplay but then nor do the rules for any of the previous editions IMO, rules have always existed as a framework underneath the roleplay in my games, they’re there when required and are ignored when not and, in this regard, D&D 4th edition is no worse than any other RPG game.
One thing that was obvious with 4th Edition was that the featured campaign worlds were tweaking and bent into new shapes to fit the cosmology and races available in the new edition, I can’t say that this unduly concerned me since i’m not really a massive fan of published campaign worlds and generally use home-brewed campaign worlds when I run D&D, although I can see how it might have annoyed die-hard fans of certain settings, but then, if I had been in that position, I would have just taken the elements that I liked out of the new setting version and just discarded the rest.
In short I think that D&D 4th edition was an attempt to do something new and different to prevent the product line from stagnating (and obviously to make WotC more money, they are a company after all) and, in this case, it didn’t really work as well as they’d hoped, although there are a lot of fans of the edition out there; I myself have enjoyed a few D&D 4th edition games and have taken several elements that I liked from 4th edition to use in other games, even though i’m not keen on the tactical/miniatures edge of the rules themselves. D&D Next seems to be an attempt to create a recognisable hybrid of a more traditionally D&D-esque game (presumably to lure back the fans who jumped ship with 4th edition), incorporating some of the lessons learnt from the release of 4th edition and the more prevalent storytelling/narrative based games that seem to be more prominent at the moment.
For anyone interesting in viewing more about the different editions of D&D the wiki page is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editions_of_Dungeons_%26_Dragons