Friday, January 20, 2012

Mechanics, Settings and Campaign Worlds

The mechanics supporting story question by Monte Cook has got my mind swimming with ideas today. As an example, Dungeons & Dragons originally had mechanics tied to race & class. We've since moved to a model that also adds culture/society into the mix, as seen in recent game supplements like the Neverwinter Campaign Setting.

Having these present in the core game make a default setting/world almost a necessity. Where do you like to draw the line in your game? Do you like having mechanics reflect the world in which the adventure takes place? Or is it enough to tie mechanics to race & class?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

AD&D Returns (Sort of)

This morning it was quite nice to wake up & see this bit of D&D news:

Wizards of the Coast is reprinting the AD&D core sourcebooks to help benefit the Gygax Memorial Fund.  Content should be the same, but the books will have new cover art. (No images of the cover art yet, hopefully soon.)

The books will be limited editions & released through hobby stores just like Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium.

This is a great move by Wizards, and something tells me that its not going to be the last one they make in getting material out from the older editions of D&D.

Go reserve your copies now!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Status Update

Thought it might be worthwhile to post something about what I'm up to these days in the gaming universe.

I'm playing in 2 weekly games, 1 online & 1 face to face. Sunday nights I am a player in an OSRIC game. I play via Skype with Sersa Victory from Save Versus Death as DM, Stephen Chast from Hunter's Haven & Jonathan Green as players.

I also DM every Wednesday in a homebrew game of my own design, using the Swords & Wizardry Whitebox rules in conjunction with D&D Fourth Edition. I have 4 players in this group that consists of my wife & 3 local friends.

I do have both Twitter and Facebook accounts that I use infrequently. I prefer Twitter for gaming related discussion, but just recently I decided to take a short hiatus from social networking in order to refocus my life & its priorities.

Lastly, I do want to clarify that even though this blog is still very new, I do plan on improving things a bit in the next few weeks. There's also a slight chance that I might move to a website of my own design. If I do, I'll be sure to let you know when that will be happening & where it will be.

What are you up to these days, gaming-wise?

Legends, Lore & Crystal Balls

Monte Cook has a new Legends & Lore column up at the official Dungeons & Dragons website today. It shares more information about what he's been working on with the next iteration of D&D, as well as some insight into the goals of this new project. Its well worth your time to read, so take time to check it out when you can.

I won't comment much on the article, as I feel it stands well enough on its own to not merit my thoughts. The one comment I will give is that these goals, as lofty as they may be, do fall in line with my previous thoughts on what this new edition will be like. It remains to be seen exactly how they will reach these goals, but for now I'm quite pleased with what I'm hearing & am looking forward to the playtest rules that we should see in the near future.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reinventing the DnD Wheel

I've been reading as well as participating in the talk about the next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons ever since it was announced yesterday. Most of my discussions took place on Twitter, but I did speak a bit in other venues.

It seems that most gamers have the idea that this "DnDNext" will be an evolution of the current 4th edition rules (4e). Take away what wasn't working in 4e, add in some fixes as well as enhancements and adjust it so that DnD gamers of all generations will like it.

Maybe that's what Wizards will do. Then again, maybe not.

Let's play "What if" for a minute. What if Wizards' goal wasn't to come up with a system like I just described? What if Wizards wanted not to evolve 4e, but rather make something completely new and different? What if their goal was to make sort of "Universal DnD"? One that any DnD gamer could play with their existing material. One that would allow you to play White Plume Mountain immediatley after a rousing romp through the Keep on the Shadowfell. Best of all, what if you could do that without having to change rules systems or modify the adventure.

Think about that for a minute.

It wouldn't be a case of 4e gamers worrying what they will lose and/or gain in this next edition. It would allow 0e/1e gamers to jump right in without having to sacrifice the freedom they love from the older systems. 2e, 3e, 3.5e. Whatever "e" is your preferred system, this new game would allow you to play it & participate in any new supplements or add-ons that Wizards might produce.

What got me thinking about this is the consistent mantra that this really isn't a new "version" of DnD. The word being used is "iteration", which means they want to repeat what they've already done to obtain a given result. Mike Mearls made this statement:

"We hope to create a system that allows players to use much of their existing content, regardless of the edition."

And Bruce Cordell posted this on his blog:

"We intend that these rules connect with all previous versions, and indeed, the players of those games."

Both of those statements speak volumes about how this isn't going to be just another edition of DnD.

A lot of gamers have also asked "Why would they do this?". Many people think its to increase sales and I agree to an extent. They are a company who produces a product and if consumers aren't buying that product then their company might cease to exist one day. However, I don't think that's the only goal here. I think the DnD team is going after something that they've hinted at for months now but most of us didn't fully understand what it meant - Unification of the fanbase.  They want all gamers to be able to enjoy DnD, regardless of what type of rules they prefer or what version of DnD is/was their favorite.

How will or could they do this? Don't ask me. I'm a chemist, not a game designer. However, I will say that if I'm right on this & this is what Wizards intends on doing, then gaming as we know it might change in ways we haven't even begun to dream of.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dreams, Hopes & Aspirations

Last week saw the start of my new roleplaying group. As part of our first session, I wanted to insure that the players could invest themselves not just in the game but the characters they were using. I'm handling character creation a bit differently from most established roleplaying systems and I plan on detailing how I did that in a future post.

For now, I want to talk about PC investment via goal creation. After the statistical part of character creation was completed, I asked each player to come up with 2 features for their character - a desire/dream and a "secret".

The desire/dream was to be something that their character wanted. Be it a life-long aspiration to do something, go somewhere or be someone, I wanted the players to think about what their characters saw as long-term goals and hopefully something we could work towards as part of this campaign.

The "secret" was to be something that the character would not initially reveal to anyone without an established level of trust. This could be something that the player character did not want to reveal for fear of moral bias or judgement. It could also be something that was kept secret for any reason that the player wanted to create. I put no structure or design upon this, as I wanted the players to think of it as wholly their own creation.

I gave the players the option of sharing their desires/dreams with the remainder of the group. The secrets I asked them to only be shared with me. I do plan on using both of these character features extensively in our campaign.

I'll be sure to share the progress of how these two character features were encompassed in our games in future updates. 

New beginnings

Today Wizards of the Coast announced a new iteration of Dungeons & Dragons. There's a plethora of discussion on this announcement online, so I won't bore you with yet another long drawn-out post about how I feel about it. I'll just sum up my thoughts with this - I am very excited & happy about this announcement.

We Dungeons & Dragons fans are a fickle group of gamers. We're often hard to please, set in our ways & resistant to most all forms of change. So for Wizards of the Coast to not only ask us to playtest this next version of the game but to base it off of our feedback on those playtests is a bold & surprising move. It is my hope that this move is a successful one, both for the company and the game, as they're putting their future in our hands in more ways than one.

The development team behind the next iteration was also announced today.  That's one heck of a star-studded designer lineup and I am fully confident that these guys & gal will make sure that the Dragons stay in our Dungeons.

2012 is to be an interesting year for Dungeons & Dragons. For the first time in the history of Dungeons & Dragons, I can say that the future of the game is in the hands of the designers and the players.

Arcane Daydreams

Welcome to the Eldritch Reverie. This is a blog about tabletop roleplaying games of all flavors & varieties.

"Eldritch Reverie" can be defined as a weird or eerie state of being pleasantly lost in thought. I chose this term as it best describes how I feel when playing tabletop roleplaying games. I've been dreaming arcane daydreams since 1981. This blog is my way of sharing those thoughts. Hope you enjoy them.