Friday, 4 October 2013

Building A Scarier Scarecrow

Dominic Matte
It's October, and Halloween is getting closer, so when I think about D&D I think a little more about horror elements than I usually do. 

Scarecrows have been D&D monsters for quite a long time - since the beginning, really. I've only been playing since 3rd edition, but the internet tells me that the scarecrow goes all the way back to the 1e Fiend Folio.The common themes behind all versions of the scarecrow are that it's a form of construct made of straw, and that its purpose is to scare in order to protect something. In real life that something is crops, and the scarecrow is scaring off birds (like crows) by making them think a human is present.

But looking at 4e's scarecrows, they don't really sell the horror for me. I've come up with a different approach that I think makes them much scarier.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Cthulhu miniature

Dominic Matte
Been a while since anyone's posted here! As you may have guessed we're currently on break from the ongoing Long Game campaign.

In the meantime I decided I'd better get started on painting my Reaper Bones miniatures, given that the second Bones Kickstarter has launched.

I spent about four hours painting the Cthulhu figure (and watching Pacific Rim twice) and here is the result:

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

What I have learned about D&D

I have been playing D&D for 5 years now and between the rules, feats, and monsters, I have picked

Dallas Kasaboski
up a few experience points, learning the strategy behind D&D. If you haven't read it, I recommend The Player's Strategy guide as it's a great way for players, veteran and novice, to gain tips into how to play this game. Here are a few of my own personal highlights, things I've learned about the game simply by playing.

Between the combat and the roleplaying often lies skill challenges and problem solving. D&D is a game of imagination which forces you to constantly question and examine your current situation. Sometimes, this abstraction makes things difficult but just as often the abstraction keeps you from forming solid opinions or bias which allows you to dream up a myriad of solutions. If you want "outside the box" thinking, ask a D&D player. The lack of taking anything for granted causes you to constantly find new and interesting ways of seeing things, and this can allow for some unorthodox thinking. I have come across a few tests and puzzles designed to promote creativity, teamwork, or unconventional thinking, and when I took those tests to any of my fellow D&D players, they were able to spin the puzzle around, and come up with a variety of solutions.

While we all enjoy D&D combat, my friends and I especially delight in the strategy and tactics of it. Often, our combats involve us standing over the battle grid, examining possible courses of action. Like a more complicated game of chess, we plan several moves ahead, considering all the pieces on the board.

While resourcefulness is a useful trait, allowing for some interesting uses of equipment and the environment, tactics allow an efficient use of actions which allows a party to become a serious threat, sometimes to the DM's chagrin. We've had some interesting balance challenges in our latest game because our three players are able to easily take out a solo 5 levels higher than us.

Never ask a question unless you want the answer to be yes
Since the rules of the game are flexible and much of the game is left to the imagination, contribution, and leeway of the players/DM, anything can happen. With that in mind, if you don't want a bad thing to happen, don't ask if it happens. Don't mention it, don't talk about it. Even if you have an awesome, and benevolent, DM, you don't want to give them ideas.

It started out as an inside joke, when one player failed a skill challenge roll and asked, "Do I lose an eye for that?" The DM thought it was a good idea and went with it. Now when I play, I only ask questions to find out information or to casually ask the DM for something special.

Don't roll, just say and do
D&D is an odd game as it can be equal parts rules and imagination. Sometimes, we get caught up in the rules and rolls. One example which seems to come up a lot is coup de grace. According to the rules, if a foe is defenseless (unconscious, tightly bound, etc.) one could attempt to end the foe's life quickly and yet still fail. While this makes sense it it seems odd that a character can't just cut a defenseless ruffian's throat and be done with him. Other instances include doing simple things. As a friend of mine recently said, "Your skill points are to help you be awesome. Your character can likely do anything you can do, the points are to help and see if you can do better." This is a good philosophy to play by as, far too often, I'd fallen into the trap of, "I leap on the table, oh I failed my Athletics check, I guess I don't leap on the table." As long as it's not too important or outrageous, a good DM will let it happen and a good player should know to just do it.

My first encounter with D&D involved watching others play. During these sessions, I would often whisper suggestions, ways to overcome certain challenges, and the solutions often included rope. It has so many uses and I have become known, in my D&D group, for being able to use rope to win the day. I have used rope to save characters' lives, find my way through mazes (thanks Perseus), and to seal friendships. It is my #1 recommended piece of equipment to have and I would not leave home without it!

Know your limits, and challenge them
While there are many ways to imply the above, I'm talking about creative, character limits. I recently realized that while I enjoyed flavouring my actions, I wasn't too comfortable making up elements of my characters's past. I even went so far as to make a character with amnesia so as to avoid a backstory. My hesitancy stemmed from a reluctance to step on the DM's toes, so to speak. To use another idiom, too many cooks may spoil the broth and I did not wish to inconvenience anyone by my creations. When I did think of something, I ran every detail by the DM to make sure it would work out and that they were prepared. I realized this was limiting my gameplay so I worked to trust myself and trust my judgment.

On the other hand, I've seen what happens when people ignore or fail to consider the limits imposed on their characters via the fictional world the DM has created. D&D is a collaborative game so keep on being creative, but work together to make things enjoyable.

And that's about all I can think of right now. I am sure there are lessons I'm taking for granted, and I hope that D&D continues to offer new challenges and new lessons. Thanks for reading.

What I have learned about myself by playing D&D

Dungeons and Dragons has one of the most rewarding "you get out what you put in" ratios of

Dallas Kasaboski
anything I've ever experienced. It can be an intense battlefield, or a quiet mystery, and a game can take place in 1 town, or an entire world. The things your characters experience not only level them up, but also level up the players. Often, while you're exploring the deep dark caves, or deciding what to do next, you're exploring yourself. Here's what I have learned/emphasized about myself since playing.

How I would act in certain situations
D&D is a role-playing game wherein you act the part of a character you create. Often, you must decide how to react in the face of situations which usually go beyond what most of us consider reality. As a player, you are constantly confronted with decisions and while your character may be very different from you and is in fact not you, these choices resonate both with player and character alike. When my character decides if he should kill that tyrant, steal that loot, or save that town, my inner monologue considers what I would do in that situation. Regardless of heroics or villainy, the choices my characters face interact with my own personal moral code. Fantasy is a great way to expand upon reality and while I'm not likely to encounter such extravagant circumstances, having thought about them prepares me and has made me reconsider what I thought I knew about myself.

Appreciation of my senses 
I have always been aware of my senses, but nothing makes you appreciate something as suddenly not having it. In one campaign, my character was struck blind by an axe swing. While 4th edition D&D can go a little overboard in making a character diehard, this was an incurable blindness. I spent a lot of time in and out of game thinking about my other senses. I paid attention to the smells and sounds around me and became more acutely aware of taste and touch. Thinking about how my character would get around and function gave me an insight (see what I did there? See what I did there?) into the life of a blind person. I'm not saying I know what it feels like, exactly, but I've studied it, imagined it, and even tried it to a minute extent. Now, I'm aware of smell and sound as quickly and nigh-accurately as sight. I can get a decent idea of my environment without seeing it and have trusted to navigating blindly. It has made me mind my surroundings (thanks Liam Neeson) and know when something's amiss. I can now track smells and sounds with pinpoint accuracy and getting around is a lot easier.

A side effect of this is that it helped improve my mental map. Forced to demand descriptions from other players and ask for details of non-visual senses from the DM, I became quite good at mental map generation. I can now navigate a room easily after 1 look and don't need light to get around, provided it's not a busy, or changing, area.

Whether it be getting around in the dark, down a glare-filled street, or finding a store or library by its smell, playing blind has taught me to appreciate and use all of my senses.

How I feel about gods
In Dungeons and Dragons, the gods are legendary, as part of the world and its history as anything else, and their existence is often confirmed by their actions. The gods intervene, give power, take sides, and so belief in their existence isn't as important as it is in our world. I like to think of them as a lens or filter, as they offer a unique way of seeing and acting in the world. A player who denies the existence of the gods would be thought stupid or insane and so, non-belief comes in the form of not trusting the gods for help.

So where does that leave me? Well, the first thing I noticed was that I was carrying my agnostic/atheistic perspective into my characters without realizing it. I played a Runepriest who didn't know which god his powers came from, a fighter/paladin who believed his god only helped those who helped themselves, and recently, a paladin who demanded verification, direction, and even an audience from his god.

I wanted to do something different with Kalgar, my Kord-worshipping paladin. (Whose adventures can be followed here) I wanted him to have faith, to believe, and to have his devotion be as clear and absolute as possible. I wanted to explore this side of myself and this side of spirituality. I had to take a step back from my own beliefs and think more about the gods and my character.

And what have I learned? Kalgar is a divine warrior with a strict moral code who is unflinching in the face of danger or religious hardship. I have come to realize that I too live by a strict moral code and that I have more in common with the faithful than I first suspected. I have learned that faith has its rewards and that any belief must be checked, challenged, and allowed to change.

And that's it for now! We here at D4sign love D&D for all that it has to offer. Whether it be coming up with cool character concepts, fighting combats, or exploring a dark corner of ourselves, Dungeons and Dragons has much to offer and I hope to continue growing, learning, and playing in the future!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Transition to Paragon

Kalgar, Tong, and Alvyn had just been told about The Long Game; its rules and its players. They had

Dallas Kasaboski
been asked to work with Mercury in order to act as arbiter of the rules, to ensure the game does not get out of hand. Marked by Mercury, she waited to see if the three had any questions.

(We’re backtracking a little as we wanted to make sure the players understood the rules and content before moving forward)

Kalgar's Vision of Paragon

Hello all, I wrote this piece as an aside, as a way of explaining to myself, and anyone interested, in

Dallas Kasaboski
the emotional and spiritual transition my character Kalgar had in The Long Game to paragon. I felt that a lot of ground needed to be covered so that Kalgar could take on a new path and so I could better understand the character better. The entire thing is a vision, created by the god Kord, and used to introduce Kalgar into bigger and better things. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Making (and breaking) the rules of the Long Game

Dominic Matte
As has finally been revealed to the party in my ongoing D&D campaign, there's more going on in the world than meets the eye - every country is secretly run by dragons, and the dragons are playing a long game for control of the planet. Like all games, the Long Game has rules to keep its players in line and to establish a fair field of battle.

Right from the outset, the rules were influenced by Isaac Asimov's robot stories. Asimov's stories clearly lay out the three laws of robotics, and then explore all the ways in which robots interpret, misinterpret, or break those rules. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do something similar. It's way more interesting to look at the exceptions to the rules than to have everything run perfectly according to plan.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Solo Design: Positioning Matters

Dominic Matte
In a recent session I ran a battle in which positioning and control were extremely important. Positioning and movement are sometimes (maybe often) ignored even in highly tactical 4e combat because most of the time, if you're in range, your precise location isn't really that big a deal. The fighter can hit the orc and he's blocking the path to the wizard? Great, he doesn't need to move unless the orc goes for the wizard.

I wanted to run a fight where position would be the most important element of the battle. Here's how I approached that goal.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Evil DM magic item: the Mark of Mercury

Dominic Matte
At the end of a recent D&D session I gave each of my players a new magic item - the Mark of Mercury - which marks the players as agents of Mercury, the Arbiter of the Long Game (long story). The real fun is the item property.

When the player rolls a d20, the Mark of Mercury allows the player to turn the die to any result without spending an action. This can be done at will, as often as the player wants, with no limitations. The caveat is that each time the player uses this ability, the DM (me, bwahaha) can do the same thing to any d20 roll - the player's or the DM's.

For evil DMs, this is a really fun trap, and potentially a very tough decision for players. If the player wants to, he or she can crit on every single attack for an entire combat - but that's a big stack of dice the DM can use against them later, or even during that fight. I think the general reaction of my players, upon receiving the Mark, was "that's really cool and I'm never ever going to use this unless I really absolutely have to". 

Where this item gets really interesting is with death saving throws. If your result on a death save is 20 or higher you immediately spend a healing surge and regain consciousness - you go from dying to up and fighting on a single lucky roll. My players can now do this at will... if they're willing to risk an unexpected 1 or enemy crit at exactly the wrong time.

A patient DM doesn't have to use their end of the item in the same fight, or even the same day, as the player's use. You could have an in-game year pass before you actually use it. The trick, however, is to not be too evil or spiteful. Ideally it's best used to create a complication or plot twist, and not to just kill a character because haha evil. You might use it to make the players fail a critical time-sensitive mission, screw up a fragile diplomatic arrangement, or ensure the success of an important step in the bad guy's plan. It's a fun item for evil DMs, but there's so much potential for real intrigue and development.

It'll be fun to see if and when my players use the Mark of Mercury, and what the consequences will be when they do!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Fall of Baelfire and the Rise of the Arbiters

High above the clouds, Kalgar set a course for Ruber; Alvyn, Tong, and Kalgar had a fight to pick.

Dallas Kasaboski

Friday, 5 July 2013

The Inscrutable Conundrum of Religiosity (Religion Tips For PCs)

Alex Adams
Religion is one of the most powerful organizing forces on earth, and one of the most contentious as well.  Religious institutions have built empires, and cannibalized them.  Religious feeling has led to the most powerful and evocative works of art of this planet.  Religious fervor has also led to some of the most appalling atrocities. 

            Similarly so, Religion in D&D can provide a massive font of creativity, combat depth, and character growth.  Sadly, in many campaigns, this resource is left untapped; PC faith resigned to mundane box-checker personality info akin to eye color.  More often, blood ties and the desire for treasure take the motivation main-stage, with religious inclination just inviting something cool to say when you smite a skeleton.  Even amidst a swath of textual guidance, new players still struggle to incorporate and inhabit religiosity into a well rounded PC.  Cast aside trepidation and unfamiliarity, fellow dice-believers.  Religion-done-well in a campaign is a Godsend, and this message has been sent from above to show you how!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The ship hits the fan...

Resting up in Chalybs, we find our adventurers getting ready for bigger challenges. The world is about to plunge into total war, and with threats on all sides, will they be prepared for what awaits? Let’s find out...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

When Gods Collide...

After defeating Hyacintho’s kraken, and driving the invading force back, our three adventurers, along with Alia the Stubborn and Alan the horse, find themselves on the Vutha Kepesk (the Black Storm), off the Aesian coast.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

When Storms Collide...

Last time we left off, we had secreted away on a 5-masted Hyacintho ship known as the Rayden,

Dallas Kasaboski
traveling to Aes to give a demonstration of Rayden's power.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Student Becomes the Master: Canitia and Hyacintho's Krakken

And we're back! After almost a month off, dodging appointments, and rescheduling work, we finally were able to meet up for another exciting adventure in The Long Game. As we started, we realized we needed one hell of a "last time" recap, not only because it had been so long, but so much had happened. If you find yourself needing a refresher, check out our last adventure here.

Now, the adventure continues...

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dungeons & Dialogue: Advanced Wordplay Edition

Alex Adams
If combat and exploration is the heart of D&D, dialogue is the soul.  Communication and exposition are the myriad paints by which players streak across the textured canvas of the DM’s phantasy.  A word can change a siege into surrender, a murderer into martyr, or victory into villainy.  It’s key that players learn how to communicate effectively and excitingly and elevate inter-party and world dialogue to its rightful position beside knoll-stomping and jewel-snatching.

For your consideration:

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Planning Spontaneity: How Prep Helps You Improvise

Dominic Matte
I've talked to and read about DMs who spend hours prepping a session only to have their players do something unexpected, and then be forced to scramble mid-session to come up with something on the fly. Improvisation can be hard in the heat of the moment, especially if you haven't practised it.

It might seem a little counterintuitive, but lots of preparation - or more specifically, the right kind of preparation - can really help you deal with unexpected scenarios when your players try something crazy.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Real-Life Monsters: Dunkleosteus

Dominic Matte
D&D has a wide variety of monsters, inspired by various legends, fictions, and real creatures. Some of these monsters are pretty scary, but there's still a lot of untapped potential in real animals - especially some of the weird extinct ones. D&D has gone into the past for some creatures, but mostly only the well-known ones - dinosaurs and mammoths being the prime examples.

But there's plenty of equally terrifying material in history, and some of it is even scarier and/or weirder than dinosaurs.

Here's an example: dunkleosteus.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dealing with the Curse of Power...

Just to let you know, this was one of the most amazing sessions we've had so far. Others have been exciting, and suspenseful, and revealed much, but as awesome and fun as the others have been, none compare to the events of this session. I will not over-hype it anymore, but suffice it to say, the events of this session will radically change the world of Cyfandir and the lives of the characters we play within it.
Dallas Kasaboski

Monday, 6 May 2013

Viridi and Corellon's Blessed Sword

One item on the demon-turned-dragon lord of Ruber's wishlist had been procured, the holy weapon of

Dallas Kasaboski
an ancient paladin. Now, our characters travel to Viridi, the land of nature and magic, to acquire the next weapon.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Enter the Demon (devil!): Creating Tong zi Gong

Throughout the campaigns I've been involved in, my two biggest in-party philosophies continue to be:

Alex Adams
     1)  Have a reason to be where you are, but also have a reason to keep                                                                                  moving.
    2)  Always create character chemistry. Rub your personality against other player characters and see what happens (gross).

     This removes two major roleplaying bugaboos that face a lot of new players (myself included).  Firstly, their characters grow stronger on paper but don't evolve and grow as people, becoming flat and sterile.  Tied to this, PCs often run out of motivation in the world of the story, or forget what they have learned through character interactions and don’t know, on a personal level, why they are doing what they are doing beyond mechanically chomping on story hooks.

A Paladin's Sword and then off to Viridi

Our quest had taken an odd turn when last you looked. Thinking they were going to end Tong's

Dallas Kasaboski
turmoil by destroying the devil Votharxis and his Edge of Sanity, the party was instead surprised to find out that Baelfire, the lord of Ruber, was in fact a red dragon! They were defeated in combat and assigned to collect holy relics to help Baelfire in his schemes. Accompanied by tiefling guards, including now Guard Captain Verius, the party had made their way to Chalybs to collect the first relic.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Heroic Tier as Character Development

Dominic Matte
D&D 4e is divided into three tiers. Heroic tier spans levels one to ten; paragon is levels eleven to twenty; and epic encompasses twenty-one to thirty. The tiers represent three distinct stages (or power levels) of an adventuring party's career. In heroic, the players are small-time heroes or mercenaries, exploring dungeons and dealing with localized threats. In paragon they become well-known and deal with threats on the scale of countries or the world, at a power level far above the majority of people in the world. And in epic the scale becomes that of gods and legends, the characters carving out a place for themselves in the myths of all creation.

But you can also approach the tiers from a characterization perspective. This is what I've been aiming for in my current game. Instead of thinking about heroic tier in terms of scale, I'm thinking about it in terms of character growth. Early on this meant giving the characters plenty to react to and interact with, but as things go on, it (hopefully) means resolving major personal story arcs before the end of the heroic tier.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A Look Back at Kalgar: Pushing Character Development

It takes me quite a while to like a character I've made, most likely because I am so critical of my own
Dallas Kasaboski
work. It often takes many sessions and levels of gameplay before I come to enjoy a D&D character I've worked up. While we've been tracking the adventures of our players in The Long Game, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on my own feelings toward my character and the game we've been playing.

Ruber: A New Quest

So there we were, in the heart of the demon's volcano fortress, waiting to hear if the devil could make

Dallas Kasaboski
more Edges of Sanity. Had he betrayed us? Was he still on our side? After two weeks of holding our breaths, we here at D4sign finally found out what happened next...

Saturday, 13 April 2013


Dominic Matte

Almost all of our posts recently have been about our current ongoing D&D campaign, The Long Game. So, to change it up, here's something completely unrelated and possibly a little silly. Since I may never get to run these in an actual game, I present to you my adaptation of the xenomorphs from the Alien movies as D&D 4e monster stats.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Onward to Ruber, the Land of Fire...

One can never be too sure what the future holds. While the party led a group of dwarves into their
Dallas Kasaboski
empire, the last thing they expected was to actually run into Illithid creatures! Fighting just one was a headache, in some ways literal, and there were obviously more just waiting for the tasty brain matter of others. With threats from all sides, the party decides to continue their quest to rid Tong of the Edge of Sanity thereby ridding Cyfandir of one threat at least.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Fall of the Dwarven Empire

It was a running fight through the old Nerathian city, fending off ghosts, and a ghost dragon. When
Dallas Kasaboski
last we left our characters, they had defeated the ghost dragon, gathered quite a bit of residuum, and were making their way to Ruber, home of the tieflings, when the ghost dragon appeared demanding his coins!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Sorrows

Last time, our adventurers made it back to the Doomguard's headquarters only to find it had been
Dallas Kasaboski
looted. Making their way to Ruber, they passed through the old Nerathian city, The Sorrows, to see if reports of an old teleportation circle were true.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Messing with Initiative in Combat

Dominic Matte
A little while back I was going through every 4e book I owned looking for monsters with interesting mechanics and abilities, and as I was doing so, I noticed that there are no monsters that do anything with initiative. None whatsoever. There are a couple that can take actions or turns on multiple initiative counts (like many-headed dragons or extremely fast monsters), but that's as far as 4e goes.

That seemed like a bit of an oversight to me, so I figured I'd have to build one. The flavour text here is for my current game.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Break-in at the Doomguard Headquarters!

Big things are starting to happen here in The Long Game! A prophecy was foretold which vaguely
Dallas Kasaboski
indicated serious change and conflict for the characters; a character's back-story was fully revealed, along with the dangers which come with it; and we had picked up a companion along the way. In this session, the characters make their way across the continent, back to base and onward!

CWNN: the Cyfandir Wizard News Network

Dominic Matte

My current game is set on a huge continent - about 3500 miles across. I wanted to keep my players up to date on events happening across the world, such as developing wars, but at such a large scale that it can take months to travel to another country, I needed a faster way for news to spread than word-of-mouth. 

Fortunately there's plenty of magic in D&D.

The Cyfandir Wizard News Network, or CWNN, has its main office in Chalybs (a large city-state). The founder of CWNN, Filivus Mountainface, is a skilled and charismatic goliath (half-giant) wizard known for his craggily handsome looks and absurdly massive nose. Mountainface is a graduate of Chalybs University who created and perfected an illusion ritual that allows the “recording” of a sequence of illusions. It's sort of a magical fusion of animation and video recording: one can capture or create footage of events, but the quality of the illusion depends greatly on the ability of the caster. 

CWNN uses this ritual to record and broadcast weekly news reports in the capital cities of the many nations. The various wizards share information with each other via rituals, and each city's “director” (lead wizard casting the ritual and guiding the performance) and “anchor” (an actor used as a visual focus to convey information) work together with "news casters" (wizards who help cast the ritual) to “record” the weekly news broadcast. There are other sources of news, and CWNN is not always 100% reliable, but it's the main source of news across the continent.

And since this was all kind of funny and anachronistic anyway, Filivus Mountainface is perhaps best known for his broadcast-closing catchphrase: "If you don't like it, you can take it up with my face!".

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Canitia: The Hunt

When last we left our heroic adventurers, Alvyn, Tong, and Kalgar had made their way out of Aes
Dallas Kasaboski
(Kalgar's homeland), after finding out that the Doomguard might be compromised, and were making their way through Canitia (Tong's homeland). Much was revealed in this session, so let's get right into it, shall we?

Friday, 22 February 2013

An Adventure in Aes

Welcome back! In my last post, we had looked into my work developing Kalgar's motivations, and
Dallas Kasaboski
added a lot of flavourful content. This time, we'll recount the session which followed. In this session, we journeyed back to Aes, Kalgar's homeland, to discover why some of the Doomguard's agents had not reported in some time.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Linking Combat and Skill Challenge

Dominic Matte
For a session I ran recently, I wanted to have a chase scene where the party needs to stop a spy who's gathered information on them. Long story short, a trap was set for the party at the bar by the military police, and once the agent realized he'd been spotted, he ran for the fort, starting a bar fight to cover his escape. 

I ran the encounter as a combat followed by a skill challenge, with the challenge's victory conditions determined by the result of the combat.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Developing Kalgar's motivations...

In our last post, our party of 3 had traveled to the Doomguard's Headquarters, learned about the
Dallas Kasaboski
structure of this secret society, and set off to Aes to find out more about their development of superweapons.

I also expressed personal concern over the lack of depth to my character Kalgar. Last week's session was great, but because I was still finding the character, I felt lost, or at best, unsure. Before we get to what happened this week, I want to share how I overcame this feeling.

The Doomguard's Headquarters

And the adventure continues! Last week's session was kind of a bottle episode, although I think after
Dallas Kasaboski
a week of fighting a dragon, anything else would feel a little slow. After 7 weeks of traveling, getting to know each other, and bonding as characters, we made it back to Chalybs, the city-state which is also the home of the Doomguard.

Monday, 4 February 2013

World Building: The Long Game

Dominic Matte
The D&D game I'm currently running, titled The Long Game, has been mentioned a couple of times on this blog, so I thought it would be a good idea to provide a quick overview of the world, and talk a bit about my approach to creating it.

Well, actually, Dallas convinced me it would be a good idea, but anyway, here's the first post.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Long Game

...and hey, I didn't die, but I almost did!

Dallas Kasaboski
In case you're just joining us, we here at D4sign just started a new campaign, now revealed to be called The Long Game, and I was worried about my character's survivability. Surprisingly, we fought a dragon, yeah that's right, and it was one of the most intense sessions ever.

If you have been following along, or you just got caught up now, you'll probably get tired of me saying it, but every week delivers a fantastic story, flavoured by DM and players alike, and with some lucky dice rolls and ample strategy, we have survived some incredible experiences.

Just a sample of the excitement of this last session, here are the thoughts from the DM,
"Finished what was quite possibly the most exciting and intense D&D session I've ever run. I was on the edge of my seat, and I'm the DM!"
So, because of that, and because it's a habit, I've decided to provide updates on this campaign. For those who play, it will be a good reference. For those out there on the internet, we hope it will be entertaining and perhaps give you some ideas for your next fantasy/story/roleplaying experience.

Friday, 1 February 2013

World Building: Dealing with Dragons (The Long Game)

Dominic Matte
Dragons are troublesome. Not just to the player characters, but to dungeon masters too. They're not only extremely powerful, but highly intelligent as well. As a DM preparing a game, I feel that I have to make an effort to explain precisely what role dragons have in the world. Or, if dragons don't have a major presence or influence, I need an explanation as to why. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

4th Edition Science Fiction

Dominic Matte
I randomly had a couple of fun thoughts on how to reflavour the D&D 4e classes to fit into a science fiction setting. These ideas are by no means complete, so I'd love to see anything you might come up with in the comments.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Kalgar Drakeswynd: Fleshing out his character...

Dallas Kasaboski

What started out as a one-shot session for a friend's birthday, has now turned into a campaign, with regularly scheduled sessions and everything. Since then, we have not only learned more about the campaign and the setting, but about our characters as well.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Labyrinth of the Last Emperor

Dominic Matte
As promised in my previous post, The Maze with the Invulnerable Guardian, here's a Dropbox link to the full dungeon write-up. No room maps, though. Sorry.

Maps are reposted below for convenience.

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Maze with the Invulnerable Guardian

Dominic Matte
Check out this post for a download link to run the dungeon yourself - it's suitable for parties of level 2 to 4.

I've been DMing for 8 years and I've never actually run a proper dungeon, so recently I decided I'd try my hand at it. I didn't want to run just a series of rooms with fights and treasure in them, so I figured I'd need one or two unique mechanics that run through the whole dungeon and tie everything together, so that each room feels like part of one big encounter rather than isolated battles or puzzles.

I settled on a maze with a phasing invulnerable guardian. That probably sounds a lot scarier than it actually was, though I'll admit that it was in fact pretty scary.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Making a new character, and how tough that can be...

Dallas Kasaboski
Well, it has been entirely too long since I wrote a post here, but it has been a while since I last played. Tonight, I played a thrilling session of Dungeons and Dragons, probably one of the best of my life, and it was so exciting that I was compelled to start writing this blog post at 1am.