Archive for September, 2014

Ran my first session of 5th Edition DnD

September 29, 2014

Saturday I had the opportunity to run a game of 5th Edition DnD.  Here’s what I took away from the session:

  • The game ran very intuitively.  The only time I had to stop and look something up was to reference specific spells or monster abilities.  Not once did I stop to make a rules check.
  • The game can be brutal, and yet not all that lethal.  It’s easy to knock PCs to 0 hit points (especially at lower levels), but the game makes it fairly easy to stabilize dying characters, so actual PC death is uncommon.  Three out of four PCs were reduced to 0 HP (some multiple times), but none died.
  • Character building is still more complicated than I’d like.  I only had two players, and each ran two PCS, so that probably slowed down character generation.
  • I did forget a few things, such as granting Advantage for a couple of surprise attacks by monsters.  We didn’t really use the grappling rules (which are easy and powerful), and I forgot all about the Dodge action.
  • I ran combat with “theater of the mind” instead of minis and a grid, and it worked just fine.  The thing is, if you prefer minis and grid, I think it’d work very well with that as well.
  • I suck at making dungeon crawls.  5th Edition was great (both of my players really liked the rule set), but my dungeon was a bit run-of-the-mill.  Lesson learned for next time. 🙂

Cheers.

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The Colony

September 25, 2014

Sthecolonynowmeggedon type post-apocalypse movies seem to be on the rise lately.  An interesting addition is The Colony (Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton; nothing to do with the TV series).  The Earth has frozen over due to misguided attempts to regulate the planet’s rising temperatures.  The few remaining humans survive in subterranean ‘colonies’ where they can grow hydroponic food, though disease is a constant worry for them.  A nearby colony has fallen off the airwaves, so Colony 7 sends a team to find out what happened.  As you can guess, it ain’t pretty.

The Colony features the claustrophobic isolation common in horror movies like Alien or The Thing, but ultimately the movie is about what makes us human.  To be sure, there is a good amount of blood and intense violence, so probably not one for the kids.  Also, Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton are the two big names in the movie, but they aren’t really the leads.  The rest of the cast does a decent acting job, the story is predictable but tight, and the special effects aren’t quite big-budget, but considerably better than your typical Syfy channel special.

If you’re in the mood for a decent post-apocalypse movie it’s worth watching on Netflix (instant view) or similar service.  The Colony could also make an interesting setting for a short post-apoc RPG campaign or one-off game; instead of a desert wasteland (ala Road Warrior), you’ve got a frozen wasteland with a whole new set of challenges for the PCs to face.

Cheers!

Eviscera of the Cyborg Sorcerers

September 19, 2014

sorcerer

Need to jazz up your cyborg space sorcerers?  Here’s a quick reference for some funky implants and transplants, inspired by Space-Age Sorcery:

Eviscera of the Cyborg Sorcerers

Featuring:

  • Cranial implants
  • Cyber-tentacles
  • Hover torso
  • Beholder eyestalk transplantation
  • And the horrific consequences of transplant rejection!

It’s just a quick little guide to hopefully jumpstart your own twisted imagination.  With insane cybernetic space sorcerers, anything’s possible!

 

Z Nation

September 13, 2014

ZNationSyfy channel debuted a new zombie series yesterday, Z Nation.  It has an interesting premise: a group of survivors have to ‘escort’ someone who’s immune to the zombie virus across the apocalyptic U.S. to a laboratory 3000 miles away.  That should help give the show a little direction.

However, if you’re looking for something like Walking Dead, you’ll be disappointed.  First off, the production quality, while acceptable, doesn’t live up to Walking Dead’s level (think Syfy special zombie movie turned into a series).  The acting is passable…it gets the job done but won’t win any awards.  Also, my feel for the show is that it has a bit more camp than WD; there’s still drama, and survivors with mysterious backgrounds and all that, and the immune survivor is a convicted criminal who’s not too keen on saving humanity (a nice twist).  But the gut-wrenching drama and horror of Walking Dead isn’t there.

Personally, I enjoyed the first episode, but I’m not sure how well the premise will hold up over the long haul.  It was fun, and I’ll give it a chance, but the show may not be for everyone.  Cheers.

Legendary Monsters for Swords & Wizardry (or other old school games)

September 5, 2014

Inspired by legendary monsters from 5th Edition D&D:

smaug

 

A “legendary” monster has a number of Legend points equal to its Hit Dice.  One Legend point may be spent to take one discreet action immediately after a PC has completed his/her actions.  Specific examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Move
  • Attack
  • Cast a spell
  • Use a special ability
  • Use a magic item
  • Retrieve an item
  • Activate a device
  • Yell out for help/summon reinforcements

Note that not every big monster is a ‘legendary’ monster.  Such status should be reserved for special monsters, such as ancient dragons, vampire masters, named demons and devils and the like.


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