Friday, January 30, 2015

Monsters from Myth II: Soulblighter for D&D

Okay, I don't know how many of you played Bungie's excellent Myth series of turn-based tactical games, with releases in 1997, 1998, and 2001. Judging by the fact that the series hasn't seen a release since 2001, I'm going with "not enough of you." I don't pretend that I was skilled or tenacious enough to finish a campaign playthrough, but I adored the low-fantasy setting (with clear landmarks of a high-fantasy past); the frequent light-touch Irishness of the setting didn't hurt. In short, the Myth series is the best ripoff of the Black Company books I've ever seen. With that in mind, I want to develop my familiarity with monster-building in D&D 5e by adapting some of Myth's horrifying monsters, undead and otherwise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Paper Sorcerer

Paper Sorcerer, developed by Jesse Gallagher, displays just how far a game can go on a unique visual aesthetic and a classic format and feel. It offers some additions to traditional dungeon crawl that other games could stand to lift, and it deserves considerable praise for that. It is, on the other hand, not a perfect offering, and I want to talk a bit about the minor points where it falls short. I have not finished the game, so some elements of the story are still a bit unclear to me.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Broken Age, Act One

Okay, let’s start this thing off right. If you’ve heard anything at all about Broken Age by Double Fine Productions, it’s a safe bet that you’ve heard it’s the Second Coming of classic adventure games. There are some gaps in my knowledge of adventure games: from the end of King’s Quest, I went on hiatus until The Longest Journey (which didn’t really speak to me), and off again. So Broken Age is kind of the Third Coming of the genre for me.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Postmortem: Three D&D Sessions

Over the past three weeks, I've run three sessions of D&D 5th edition. Across all of these sessions, there have been eighteen different players (Kainenchen played in all three, though very little in the last case; our son was uncooperative). Ranging from people who have played 5e since the earliest public playtests, as I have, to people who had never remotely considered picking up a twenty-sided die with intent before the day of the session, it's about as great a range of players and session types as I've ever run.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thorin's Dragon-Sickness: A Roleplaying Challenge

Thorin Oakenshield:  I was blind, but now I begin to see... the Arkenstone! One of them has taken it from me... One of them is false.

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who dreams up mechanics to suit scenes in movies. In this case, I was watching The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies, in which (among other things) Thorin succumbs to his greed, which is explained as more than mere cupidity, but a sickness caused by the long presence of a dragon; the dragon's greed becomes contagious, passed through the gold. We see the rest of Thorin's Company recognize what's going on and try, with varied arguments, to get through to Thorin and remind him of the noble, heroic ideals he once possessed. It's a common problem in Middle-earth, as well as other settings.