Friday, July 18, 2014

D&D Basic: Combat and Conditions

This is my fourth post reviewing the D&D Basic rules, including comparison to the last playtest packet. Previous posts have covered races and classes; personality, backgrounds, and equipment; and general rules and adventuring. Judging by the title of the post, I'm probably writing about combat and conditions this time. Like all of the posts in this series, I expect to run on at the mouth keyboard a bit. Unless this is your first-ever visit to Harbinger of Doom (in which case, Hi! tip your servers), now is a rather silly time to be surprised about that. I'm skipping over spellcasting and the spell list for now, because the combat chapter gives me a lot to talk about as is.

Monday, July 14, 2014

D&D Basic: General Rules and Adventuring

In this, my third post comparing D&D Basic to the last of the playtest packets, we get into the fundamental rules of D&D. In the Basic PDF, it's Part Two: Playing the Game, but either part of that would make for a misleading post title, and what kind of barbarian of a blogger presumes to use two subtitles? So here we are. I'll also continue into the Adventuring chapter, where we see another of the tonal elements of 5e that sets it apart from its forebears.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

D&D Basic: Personality, Backgrounds, and Equipment

This post continues the detailed comparison between the D&D Basic PDF and the last playtest packet that WotC issued (10-14-2013). Part One of this analysis focused on races and classes; this time, we're getting into more terra incognita, including one of the most-discussed paragraphs in the whole bless├ęd thing. Without further ado:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

D&D Basic: Races and Classes

On Thursday, 3 July, 2014, the tabletop gaming world was... not rocked to its core, perhaps, but the vast majority of conversation was turned to the release of D&D Starter and D&D Basic for the new edition (which, for want of any other term, we distinguish as 5e). The former is available only in Wizards Play store for the moment, while the latter is available as a free PDF. I take only the faintest of interest in the marketing strategy behind a free release of the core of their rules - after all, this is a design blog. I wrote extensively about the playtest packets, so now it's time to yammer on about the changes made between the last packet and Basic.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to Play With Someone Else's Toys

The other day, I got to talking with a friend about game-running, particularly in a setting for which the game-runner is not the initial creator. This includes LARPs, tabletop games, and for that matter, content development in video games - something most folks will never need to care about, but I have considerable experience in this field, and many of the same ideas apply. To cover all of those cases, I'm not really talking about game-running, but about how to be a content creator in someone else's domain.

Friday, June 27, 2014

LARP Design: Event Schedules

This past weekend marked the thirteenth weekend-long event of Dust to Dust, so I want to talk about what goes into filling out an event's schedule. Now, there are a ton of valid ways to approach this; the one that works for you is necessarily correct. I'm just talking about what works for us. Also, Dust to Dust is a fantasy boffer LARP with a heavy emphasis on story and relatively open-world play - if your game isn't one or more of these things, this advice may not apply at all. (That is, I don't pretend that my comments would apply to the Camarilla, which is salon-style; Dagorhir, which as I understand it is not story-focused; or IFGS, which is more about running groups through modules than open-world play.)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Product Review: D&D Dice Roller by Hibercon Technologies

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by +Oleg Crew from Hibercon Technologies to review their new D&D Dice Roller app. The hardest part of this process, other than finding some spare time, was figuring out how to use product keys in the iTunes store. Once I got that worked out, I was off to the races.

The core functionality of this app could not be any simpler. It has a one-second loading screen, no options menu... no credits page, for that matter. So right off the bat, it has a ruthless dedication to clarity and simplicity on its side. Given what it's replacing - my time-honored polyhedrals, which it must be admitted have a longer history of ignominy than glory - this is a great decision. Even one screen-tap of delay between startup and "picking up" the dice is getting in the way of its usability and convenience, since an iPhone or iPad is going to go to sleep during other players' turns. (Well, not my iPhone; in something like a fit of pique I set my iPhone to never go to sleep, like some kind of sleep experiment.)