Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why a good set of Core Rules are important.

The game I play is what I like to call My D&D. It's my version of D&D which is a hodge-podge frankenSystem of rules. But the thing that keeps it My D&D is what happens behind the DM screen. Most of the house rules, exceptions and changes are completely invisible to the players. Anything I add to character generation has to be in addition to the core rules. My current set of core rules are the Dungeon Crawl Classics BETA rules. PCs are built using the rules as written, and any house rules are compatible with and "plug-in" to those rules. This allows someone to make a character, using the rules, and bring it to my game. So for a players purposes, they'll make a DCC RPG character. For about 6 months before DCC, it was Swords & Wizardry.

This is why Classic & Advanced D&D were the best version of D&D to me. The core rules were designed to be core rules, and any additional things you want to add, like Non-weapon Proficiencies or Skills, or psionics, etc, were optional. That's what makes a good core system. 3e went overboard. They made things that I wasn't interested in, part of the core rules. Feats are not how I want to do fancy tricks. I never used non-weapon proficiencies in Unearthed Arcana or whatever they were called in 2nd Edition, so why would I want to use skills now? If I wanted a skill system I'd play another system. Classes are shorthand for what your character can do, races & background are factors that bring depth to those classes. That's all I needed to figure out if someone can climb a cliff, pick a lock, or hunt some deer.

D&D Next has the opportunity to become my core-rules. So far they've promised HP, HD, AC, To-hit, Classes, Levels and Ability Scores--awesome. But will it be compatible with my what I'm using now?

Posted via email from Dak, D.M.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Goodman Games is giving away a free poster for their upcoming game, Dungeon Crawl Classics.

You can get it here:

DCC RPG, if you don't know, is a Sword & Sorcery RPG with Old-School roots with some bits of modern mechanics. I've been using the BETA rules [] as the core rules for my current "Sword & Sorcery" campaign, and I'm very happy about it. It has the right amount of rules and charts, and the aesthetics and fluff are right on the money for the kind of "D&D" I like to play. It's compatible with d20 and older versions of D&D but has it's own twists and flavor. It's also very random, which I love.

Posted via email from Dak, D.M.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GM Questionaire

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?

I haven’t been very innovative, apparently. Most of the things I thought I came up with were “been there, done that.” Maybe this: I don’t use a DM screen, so I roll multiple dice and never tell anyone which is the one that matters.

2. When was the last time you GMed?

Last Thursday

3. When was the last time you played?

About a year ago.

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.

The adventurers get ship-wrecked on a mysterious it going to be Gilligan's Island? or LOST?

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?

Get another beer, pee, or eat.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?

Whatever junk-food my players bring to the game, or dinner I make myself.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

Not really. I’m pretty amped when I GM. Does this mean I can GM harder?

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?

Me, and a couple other characters, destroyed an artifact we were actually supposed to retrieve. Um, basically doing the job for the bad-guys, destroying the world--seriously.

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?

Nah, I GM a pretty gonzo game, but no one has tried to break it.. I stick to Sword & Sorcery tropes and try to keep things scary, they seem to really enjoy it. There are some stupid PC names, but I tend to make stupid names myself.

10. What do you do with goblins?

I re-skinned them as little peon lizard-like people. I don’t give my monsters proper names, I let the party name them.

11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?

Oh, I do this with all kinds of movies. The last movie I ripped off was Rare Exports (dude, check it out.) It features hordes of naked santas and a giant horned end-monster. It was my X-mas/New Years adventure special.

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?

A halfling forgot about a trap, and sprung it, getting himself teleported across the house into a death-trap, all while the naked santas were invading their stronghold. Someone had to run across the house to let him out or he’d die from some poisonous gas.

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?

Isle of the Unknown from LotFP/McKinney, I’m thinking of having the adventurers get ship-wrecked on this island.

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?

Bill Sienkiewicz, I wish he’d do RPG art..

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?

I’d like to think so. I really don’t know. I do try and get players invested in their characters, and try to kill them.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)

The past year has been a blast, and it’s been mostly pre-written mods. I hack a bit. My players aren’t afraid of breaking modules, and I encourage it. They broke my X-mas adventure. They never went to the dungeon, so I brought the monsters to them.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?

On a hill, over-looking a desert. Or in the middle of a dry lake bed.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?

Drinking UNO & Video Games

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?

80’s adventure movies (Buckaroo Banzai & Big Trouble in Little China) and Glen Cook/Black Company novels.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?

I like newbies that are just learning the game, they don’t have any expectations. Experienced players that respect and enjoy “different” GM styles are awesome too.

21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?

Sports, specifically hockey. Skating & shooting pucks, defending, etc. I don’t think I even wrote it down though.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?

Real healing potions, is this what you mean? An electronic dice roller that doesn’t suck would be awesome.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?

My GF, she kind of gets it, is sort of interested, but intimidated. That’s mostly my fault because sometimes I assume that some tropes are universally known. She’s highly educated, and I’m assuming again, so she thinks role-playing belongs in a classroom as a school exercise of some sort, instead of a game or lets pretend. This is where the assumed tropes cause problems. She's mostly shy.

Posted via email from Dak, D.M.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This interruption is brought to you by #SOPA & #PIPA #STRIKETOOLS #J18 #SOPABlackout


My sites will be BLACKED OUT tomorrow in solidarity with the ANTI-SOPA & ANTI-PIPA actions that will be happening all over the Internet tomorrow.

I hear Google (and Youtube) will be doing something in solidarity. I doubt they'll black-out their site, but whatever they do will probably reach more people than before. So there is hope. I don't have much hope for Twitter though, they're notorious for ignoring hash-tags that don't deal with some pop celebrity or some stupid commercial venture. Burger King is in the TOP TEN?

I'm curious about how many people in the US don't know what this SOPA/PIPA business is all about. Well if this campaign does what it plans to do, congress will be getting a lot of calls from angry consumers. 

Is this the first real internet strike? This should be interesting.

Join in the fun! Here's some links to get you started:

Information and detailed analysis on SOPA & PIPA, a must read to understand the bills and know why they're BAD:

Posted via email from Dak, D.M.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A View on the New Edition of D&D #DNDNEXT

A new edition of D&D was inevitable. Currently being dubbed the "next edition", the 40th Anniversary of the game is in 2 years. Ample time for 4e fanboys to finish their campaigns, and plenty of time for WotC to play-test and finalize what may possibly be the Ne Plus Ultra edition of the game. I'm looking forward to it.

I love D&D, I call my game D&D, but it's basically the BETA rules of DCC RPG with a couple rules from various OSR games such as LotFP & S&W, which means it is essentially a bit of 3e and 0e with some house rules, made up, forgotten and used on the fly. That's how I roll, and how I plan to run my home campaign for now on. There is nothing wrong with that, and Mike Mearl's statement validates it (not that we need it):

"We want a game that rises above differences of play styles, campaign settings, and editions, one that takes the fundamental essence of D&D and brings it to the forefront of the game. In short, we want a game that is as simple or complex as you please, its action focused on combat, intrigue, and exploration as you desire. We want a game that is unmistakably D&D, but one that can easily become your D&D, the game that you want to run and play."

D&D wasn't my only game. When 3.0 first came out, it only marked my return to the hobby. (I started playing D&D with the Holmes edition in 1979.) These new rules were so robust and complete, I didn't want to learn another game, so I stuck to just d20 varients to get my super-spy, sci-fi, horror & super-heroes in. It worked fine. Then I started to play games other than d20. While I whole-heartedly adopted 4e, ran some RPGA "Living" campaigns and Encounters, and honestly enjoyed 4e for a couple years. This helped me refine what I wanted in an RPG. I felt something was wrong with 4e, something that I've never been able to pin-point, much-less explain in a blog post. Then Essentials came out, it changed the rules and made previous books obsolete, emphasised the web-based materials and basically forced me to look elsewhere to get "my D&D." Then I discovered that Older Editions (OSR) were not only being played, but being supported through un-official channels and retro-clones. I fell in love with the game, all over again. For the past year I've been playing the D&D I want to play, and it ain't 4e, it ain't even really 3e. My previous obsession with "official" rules were gone, my obsession became playing the game I wanted to play, and access to Older Editions (official and their simulacra) gave me a robust toolbox to do this. 4e basically forced you to play one way.

The Next Edition promises another set of these tools. To officially use as I see fit. And I'm stoked.

You can cool it now...

Posted via email from Dak, D.M.