Roleplaying Games Should Be Fun

The fun of gaming

Multisystem Monster Mayhem Part 1

Posted by Brett on May 31, 2009

I’m going to offer a few posts about creating monsters in a variety of game systems. These will be conversion of a creature from one game system to another, or using a fictional creature/character and presenting them in a variety of game systems. I’ll go ahead and start with somebody that everybody should be familiar with: Superman and some generic Kryptonians for Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

I think I should discuss my design principle here. With D&D the idea for this type of monster to capture the essence of the creature and translate that into game stats. In Superman’s case its a matter of detemining his iconic abilities and then giving them some numbers.

I figured that Superman should probably be a low epic tier opponent, so he gets to be a level 22 solo encounter. From there the other kyrptonians are less powerful than Superman so they end up at lower levels making them mid to high paragon tier. They share similar powers to Superman but with enough differences to highlight their own roles.

At any rate here’s some monsters.

Kryptonians are tall and muscualr but otherwise appear human. Their appearance belies tremendous power though, for they are far stronger and vastly more resilient than any human. All kryptonians are possessed of the ability to fly under their own power and all can fire beams or intense heat from their eyes.

The kryptonian striker a fast moving front line combatant. While capable of moving at blinding speeds rely on their large brethren to provide cover as they dash between their foes laying waste to everything in their way.

Tactics: The kryptonian striker will typically open their assault by attempting to freeze their opponents and then use furious assault while they wait for kryptonian juggernauts to join the fray.

The kryptonian juggernaut is a hulking member of the kryptonian species. Larger and stronger than many of his ilk the juggernaut wades into combat with relish and dealing tremendous damage by superheating his own fists with his eye beams.

Tactics: The juggernaut’s tactics are simple. Knock over as many opponents as possible and then pound them into goo.


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I’m a Monster RAWR!

Posted by Brett on May 19, 2009

D&D Home PageWhat Monster Are You?D&D Compendium

Looks like I’m a Behir, whoop ass!

Edit: Alignment corrections

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Can I Haz Campaign Setting?

Posted by Brett on May 5, 2009

Settings for D&D, and other games, are as varied and fantastic as their respective game systems. I do enjoy a really good campaign setting. My favourites include: Mutant and Mastermind’s Freedom City, which is a good solid foundation for any kind of modernish type superhero game; for D&D I’ve alwasy enjoyed Planescape for all of its weirdness and incredible philosophical wonder, Eberron for its twisting of D&D tropes, and Forgotten Realms for readings its novels (I can’t seem to get into playing, the setting is too big); Star Wars is well Star Wars, who can’t love that?; lastly we have Rifts, arguably the worst most broken game system ever, but damn if that isn’t as wicked-cool-awesome-sweet as a Real Ultimate Power [insert link] Ninja idea for a game setting.

I fully plan on running Eberron 4E once the campaign and player guides are released in June/July 2009. Something about the setting just caught, maybe its the logical progression of understandable controllable magic, maybe its the crazy post war Indiana Jones world hopping, red line traveling fun, or maybe its warforged. Yes, warforged. They are very, very cool to me. A constructed creature imbued with a soul, some good, some bad, some in between but all of them are cognizant of their place in the world and needing to find a new place in the world. That is what I like about a campaign setting, it makes it easy to find a place in the world for the players. That is what I try to create whenever I get to starting a new campaign, a place in the world for the PCs to take charge.

My newest attempt is a rebuild using D&D of a shamelessly stolen idea from a player. The idea is to defend a town from an incoming invasion of monstrous hordes. The wrinkle is that only the players know about the invasion, none of the NPCs will believe them, at least nobody that can do anything to help. Right there we have a hook that puts the players squarely in control of the game direction. They get to choose where, when and how they try to stop the invading hordes. Or not, but thats completely up to them

My favourite settings all do something similar. Freedom City makes your characters superheroes, and by the default game standards they aren’t scrubs either. They are powerful, talented and capable. At least as capable as the X-Men, and this gives them an immediate place, because they can take care of themselves. Planescape did very much the same thing, since belief and how that affected the world worked much the same way. The characters could advance multiplanar schemes and conquests and still be level one, as I recall the Factol of the Athar was a level one petitioner to use AD&D Second Edition parlance. The PCs could be that guy, and that was the fun of the setting.

What are your favourite campaign settings? Why do you love them so?

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Realpolitick and How to Use Your Job in Game

Posted by Brett on May 3, 2009

In fighting, realpolitik, war as a natural extension of diplomacy. Its there, we deal with every single day in one way or another. Many of us have the problem of dealing with it at work, I know that I have to at work, and I’m just a lowly peon on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder. If I wanted a promotion at work I need to fight and claw against everybody else to get one, and that is against my coworkers who may be as qualified as I am, and against those that I know are not but are just ambitious and talk a big game.

For a bit of background. I worked at a call centre, until my recent layoff and its generally pretty crappy, the only light is that I worked with my fiance so she makes me smile all of the time. Writing about her now is making me smile, so I have that going for me. In my position I have to deal with customers of a major telecommunications company in the United States, for whom I provide tech support to PDA devices. That makes me wonder about how I can use that experience in a game. I could as a GM create NPC caricatures of my managers for the PCs to beat the living snot out of, butthat’s not really what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how to turn a job, sometimes a crappy job, into exciting games and adventures. My experience that I’m a specialist, I deal with only certain situations. I don’t answer general billing questions, I don’t deal with most standard phone type devices, I do however deal with some of the most difficult and confusing technical issues for devices thatrenowned for confusing technical issues, I have specialized tools and training to do what I need to do, I am the call centre equivalent of an adventurer. So how does this working game? Read on and I shall explain.

The easiest way work this into a game is as a game of intrigue, at least for those of us with office jobs. Think of how you would integrate the idea of office politics, which can be just as vicious as any those in any royal court and you have a good idea about the challenges the PCs should be facing. If we take my layoff for example that can lead to lots of adventure ideas. In my case I worked for my previous employer for just shy of five years and the only reason myself and several of my coworkers were let go is because of our tenure and associated costs of being kept employed in favour of somebody who gets less pay. Maybe your group’s services are no longer needed by their previous patron, they are forced to find their own work, which isn’t hard for a group of adventurers. If terms of costs to a patron why not set up a group that is doing the same work with same level of skill of a lower cost. You have a rival group that isn’t outright antagonistic to the PCs and that give a nice bit of drama to any series of adventures. The intrigue option is always valid. I’m sure that you’ve encountered that one person that is always riding on your coat tails or those of your coworkers. That one person that tangently attaches themselves to a project and somehow manages to get most of the credit through smooth talking and nobody else wanting to be seen as a jerk. This makes a good NPC for a game, that oneperson that manages to convince the king or your patron that it was their invaluable help that saved the day, despite only being tangently involved with the whole adventure. This also means this person maybe getting promotions or rewards beyond their station, or may even have a more sinister motive for their lies beyond just mere ambition.

Something else to consider is why that event has occurred even if the players never find out that why. A GM knowing why something happens can lead to more adventures by having the players getting to the root of a problem. Maybe the PCs have become an unfavourable group to have around after a shift in the power structure, and in an effort to cut ‘costs’ or clear detritus from the organization’s structure the PCs are cut loose. Maybe they are too powerful, or viewed as having too much power, maybe the royal vizier sees the bard has having too much of an influence on the king, so the vizier engineers a reason to unceremoniously dump the characters in the nearest gutter and have the king agree to do so.

Once more to my lay off for inspiration. Imagine the following scene. Local heroes who have been protecting the local townships from goblins, brigands and their ilk for nigh on five years are called before the local magistrate on behalf of the king. They are informed that their status of goblin and brigand hunters is revoked, they are to leave the kingdom due to the king wanting to have more royal support in the area. He’s sending out his own soldier under his own payroll because they cost less, even after taking into account the loss of funds due to goblin raids. Never mind the loss of morale of thefarmers , the heroes services just aren’t needed any more. But, they are told, if a dragon shows up the king will happily accept their help, at a greatly reduced rate. There are apologies all around, but really there’s nothing the magistrate can do, because of the king you see. So what are the heroes to do? Do they go to the king and appeal their case? Is what the magistrate says all there is to the king’s request? Is the king’s request genuine? Are the soldiers coming for the reason stated, are they there to quash afomenting rebellion, or is there something more sinister at work? All excellent questions and each one of them can lead to a whole series of new adventures.

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I’m a Fighter

Posted by Brett on March 18, 2009

D&D Home PageWhat Class Are You?Build A CharacterD&D Compendium

Guess I’m a fighter.

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