Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where the wild things are

So I've landed over at the blog, This is My Game, and am very excited. I got lined up with a group of other contributors and I think this will eventually be a great blog for D&D. As usual I will be posting a smattering on other games, but still focus on 4E. Also, I want to keep a lot of my material accessible at one site (plus I am lazy) so expect some of the material here to be reposts there.

Had a ton of fun doing this, and I expect the new site to be tons of fun more. Please be sure to bookmark the new site!

Frank Frazetta, you will always be missed...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm outta here!

So a while back I stated that things would be ramping up that would cut into my blogging. I've definitely slowed down since last year. I was at a crossroads of trying to keep the site chugging along, or maybe fold up camp and join someone else.

So I've decided to move on and join in a collaborative effort with Thadeous over at this is my game. He is in the process of setting a brand new website with a few other folks. I'm quite happy to be one of the people blogging there.

Expect a few of the older posts here to migrate over, but I'll be piping up with some new stuff too. As the details get finalized, I'll be sure to post here. See you all hopefully in a few weeks at a brand new site!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Handling Errata

So WotC seems to have a never ending stream of errata that comes out. I get a bit torn about this. One part of me feels it is such a pain to try and keep up on the changes for powers and items, and wishing WotC took a bit more time to playtest new material. Yet another part of me is happy that WotC tries to address powers and abilities that are too powerful, or even better, get some of the older powers up to snuff with new options available to players.

Trying to incorporate this stuff into your existing books is a bit of a pain though. When the first errata started to trickle out, I diligently printed, cut, and taped the text into my books. As more and more piled up I realized it would be a huge endeavor to try and update the books and keep them current.

Instead, I have all the errata printed out and put into sleeve protectors. I indexed them with color tabs and have a notebook with all the errata broken down for each WotC book. I then took the books and highlighted the name of powers that had some errata (sometimes put brackets in the margin if it was a chunk of text). Then if I was looking in a book, I would know I should pick up the errata notebook to make sure a power was working correctly.

So it is still a little tedious, but a lot easier than making individual changes to each book. Plus I can easily add to any future errata that comes out. I still think if I were a new DM I'd freak out about all the changes and corrections floating out there. So I'll offer some advice on the matter.

Check the stealth rules - Make sure you've got the updated stealth rules (PBH 188) and how to target things you can't see handy (PHB 281).

Make changes to the DC levels - Go through the skill DC levels and adjust them (DMG 42). Make sure to keep these values in mind for skill checks. Almost every other skill check in the game, from the disease tracks to traps, are altered due to these changes. You can readjust most checks on the fly if you've got this errata change handy.

Mind failures for skill challenges - Update the skill challenge complexity (DMG 72) so that each is not a success once 3 failed checks are made. It's a big change and helps keep skill challenges a little exciting.

Don't sweat the other stuff - Honestly most of the other changes are minor tweaks and corrections. If anything, they are specific to a certain player class. I'd definitely make an effort to go through the errata once a player picks a power, but don't get too freaked out if you miss something.

A few powers and abilities are broke. As a DM you'll usually find out about this (and might have to make changes later), but for the most part you could likely play your game with your pals and never bother making changes to Delver Armor, or even the 'new and improved' magic missile.

In fact the worst part about being dismissive with errata is that you are hurting your players. I suggest putting the work on their shoulders. If they find an errata to a power, let them tell you about it. Have them keep that printed page handy when you all play. You'll be surprised that if a player can get a boon to a power due to changes or corrections, they'll be sure to scour the errata to find it. It's a great way to delegate the responsibility for keeping all the characters up to date.

So these are my little tidbits on errata. How do other DM's handle game changes to the rule books?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Expeditions of Amazing Adventure: The mischievous monoliths of Miandriss

The open plains of Miandriss are dotted with deep lakes that are fed by a myriad of small rivers and streams. This land is known for its fine farmland and rolling plains of grain. But one cannot fail to mention the great mysterious stone statues that also lie about the many farming communities of this land.

Most are level to a man’s chest and hold the visage of some simple humanoid face. The gray stone on many are so worn, barely any detail can be found on their face. It is unknown the purpose of the stone markers, or what race was responsible for creating them.

Many people look upon the statues that grace their fields and homes as good fortune. Most farmers would agree, that to deface or move such stoic rock figures would be tempting foul luck. Even older traditions of more primal beliefs still hold sway over many communities.

Each long fall before the main harvest, huge bonfires light the night sky. Families with homes near the stone figures will leave pints of dark ale, sharp cheese, and hearty loaves of bread. Most folk will spend the evening around the fires drinking merrily and filling the air with laughter and song. All done to appease the spirits buried deep within the quiet stone faces of the statues that dot their community.

Villagers claim as the night drags on, the fires fall to embers, and the folk weary with sleep and drink retire to their homes, that the rock figures come alive. Sure enough, many farmers will find some of their wheat baled, or fruit from thick orchards in bushels. And pity the miser farmer that did not leave a meal for their stone neighbors. He might wake to find his livestock scattered or a small vegetable patch rooted up. Usually, such a slight is rewarded with some mischievous deed. Yet few whisper of more darker deeds, one of children gone missing in long past seasons.

One thing is for certain, every statue has moved by the dawn of the following day. Even the great imperial arcane guild has documented this phenomenon without any explanation. Attempts to do so have always resulted in some mishap. Whether a young apprentice seems to fall asleep during the observation, or a group of wizards is run off by some irritated beast, no one has actually seen the statues move.

They only know that by the next sunrise these simple figures of man have managed to uproot themselves and move. Be it a mere 10 feet or hundreds of yards, it seems that each season the stone statues of Miandriss begin a migration, quite possibly a great jest from some ancient trickster god.