Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dakrah's Familiar, and Posting on

Image by Dawn McLaughlin

Yesterday, I released my first ebook, a short story entitled "Dakrah's Familiar." It is available on the Kindle bookstore for $2.99. If you follow me on G+ at all, you probably spent a lot of yesterday hearing about this, because it's a really big deal to me. I've added a Page to this blog, linked just below the About Me gadget, with my published stories and links to reviews. As of this writing, there's one very kind video review by The Basics of the Game. I am incredibly excited for one of my stories to be out in the world, and simply giddy with delight at the cover art that Dawn McLaughlin created for it.

I also wrote my first post for For... however long it takes, I'll be writing a column over there that goes through each of D&D's classes and examines how the class has changed from edition to edition, much as I did in this blog with the Ranger and Druid classes. Yesterday's post was the first in a series on Bards. Once again, if you follow me on G+, you probably heard about this yesterday, but I beg your forbearance. Tribality is packed with great material if D&D 5e is of any interest to you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

D&D 5e: Another Batch of Magic Items, and One Condition

This isn't my first post of magic items for 5e, though it is the first since the release of the DMG. As I've discussed before, I love some of the new levers we see in 5e magic item design. The magic items of the DMG are, by majority, the traditional range of D&D items, like you'd expect from the core book. They cover their bases, but I don't think they take a lot of risks here. Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat start to push a few more boundaries here, with magic items that custom-fit the plotline that rewards them. This immediately endows them with a greater sense of lore and connection.

Monday, December 22, 2014

LARP Advice: How to Be a Great NPC

This post is directed toward players in LARPs that have NPCs who are not full-time members of Staff. That includes both folks who are volunteering for the whole event and never play a PC, and folks who are doing just a few hours' shift backstage. There's probably a lot of regional variation in terminology here as communities develop their own jargon, and as newer games decide that changing their predecessors' jargon is the hill they're going to die on. Just to make sure we're all on the same page here, I'll brave the shoals of tedium and explain a bit more.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

D&D 5e: Investigator Roguish Archetype

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been thinking about how to build an Investigator rogue. Since I woke up ridiculously early this morning and couldn't get back to sleep, I now have an initial draft of the Investigator archetype to share. The goal of this archetype is to model both Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe without going too far in leaving the medieval fantasy behind. Yes, I know that the modern conception of the detective comes from 1833, with a guy who has Rogues Are My Jam written all over him, but if this kind of detail is enough to ruin your fun, then move along, friend. If it's good enough for Pratchett's medievalish fantasy, it's good enough for me. Also, my closing argument.

Monday, December 8, 2014

D&D 5e: Investigation Encounters

There I was, thumbing through the 5e Player's Handbook (as one does), when I came a suggestion that non-criminal members of the Rogue class include investigators. Well, I like a good procedural mystery as much as anyone, so pondered how you'd play an investigator through the Rogue class. The baseline Rogue abilities are fine and good - their skill list includes Insight, Investigation, and Perception, while Expertise and Reliable Talent mean they'll seldom fail a roll. On the other hand, none of the Roguish Archetypes really fit all that well. They feel more like "what you do when you're not investigating" rather than a reinforcement of your concept, so I think a new Archetype might be called for here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lost Mine of Phandelver: the Lore

I've been perusing the adventure included in the D&D 5e Starter Set, "Lost Mine of Phandelver," with intent to commit heinous acts of game-running. I would guess that about 33% of the folks reading this blog post have also read the adventure, since I've heard so much commentary on it in my blogroll and in G+. This isn't a review - instead, I'm doing some of the legwork of cross-referencing the Realmslore that the adventure mentions but doesn't discuss in any detail. As the adventure promises, you don't need to be a Forgotten Realms expert to run it - but maybe some of this will interest you.

Note to players: Here There Be Spoilers.