Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Well, 2013 is winding down to a close, which means it's time for every blogger to post a year's-end retrospective, because it is a great thing to do during the holiday season when you are too busy to come up with grand new ideas and your readers are too busy to read them.  I thought I'd give some time to all the RPG-related news and exciting developments that have come across in the last year.  First and foremost:

d20 Despot
Obviously the biggest piece of RPG news this year is the founding of the popular blog d20 Despot, which took the internet world by storm with its first post on April 1st (incidentally, that'll mean that I'll have to whip up some fun stuff every April Fools Day).  The blog seeks to provide interesting perspectives on various aspects of the RPG experience, and especially to freely provide open game content for GMs and players.  Wow, whoever runs the blog must be a really cool and handsome guy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monster Monday: Krampus, the Christmas Demon

Merry Christmas, everyone!  In the spirit of the season, I have decided to stat up Krampus, the evil being of Germanic Christmas folklore who accompanies Santa and punishes bad little children by beating them with a birch switch, stuffing them in a sack, and carrying them back to his lair to eat them.  Wow, don't be naughty in Germany, kids.  Plus, I have statted up perchten, the minions of Krampus.

As an added Krampusnacht bonus, I am writing this post from Germany!

The following text in gold is available as Open Game Content under the OGL. Open Game Content is (C)2013 Jonah Bomgaars.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monster Monday: Illhveli, the Bad Whale

Today's Monster Monday entry is the illhveli, a bloated, undead whale carcass with the nasty tendency to explode.  I've also created a new zombie variant: the bloated zombie.

source: The History Blog
The following text in gold is available as Open Game Content under the OGL. Open Game Content is (C)2013 Jonah Bomgaars.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Playtest of Trials of the Mad Mage

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post intended to introduce new players to D&D.  Last week, I posted a short introductory dungeon called Trials of the Mad Mage.  This week, as the final part of this bizarre triptych, I will post an account of the time that I ran this adventure for a group of new players.  Did it function as I had hoped? Did it get them excited about their characters and about the game? To find out on.

I should note that the adventuring party consisted more than the four characters set out in the adventure as you see it on my blog: the fighter/ranger, the rogue, the sorcerer, and the cleric.  There were instead:

The cleric - Idissa Halga.  The cleric was played by my girlfriend, who had played in several other D&D campaigns but had never played a cleric.  She decided to go for a North African theme, and really enjoyed playing a cleric.
The rogue - Rrrrr.  A 12-year-old thief from the ice-fisher people of the north, and worshiper of the squirrel-god of thieves.  She was basically a magpie, hoarder of shiny things.
The sorceress - Angaia.  She said she pictured her character as sort of a pyromaniac, so I gave her predominantly fire spells.
The fighter/ranger - Dover Madbury.  He was open to anything and wanted to play whatever character I made for him.  He decided that his favoured enemy should be dragons without knowing that there was a dragon in this dungeon.
The ranger - Wulfric Nettlebrook.  A swashbuckling adventuresome ranger who fights the good fight against oppression and tyranny.
The bard - Bob the Bard.  He decided that he wanted to be the most painfully boring bard ever, so I gave him a selection of spells including sleep and oppressive boredom.
The barbarian - Suomi.  An elderly barbarian who could still kick ass despite her advanced age.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trials of the Mad Mage: A Beginners' Adventure for Level 5 Characters

Okay, I'm a day late, but there was a lot to write this week:

As part two of my ongoing mission to introduce new players to D&D, I'm posting here a complete adventure of my own device, intended to introduce new (or lapsed) players to Dungeons & Dragons.  I tried to give it a very 'old school' feel, with plenty of traps, puzzles, and strange things you would only find in... well, in the lair of a mad mage.  I also tried to inject some humour in there to help more reluctant players stay engaged with the group.  I made the adventure for level 5 characters because I wanted to give the players a sense of power.  Although I am a big fan of starting off at a low power level, it can be quite discouraging for a new player to come into this incredible world of fantasy and magic, only to realize that he or she can be easily killed by a kobold with a sling.  Starting at a higher level gives players - especially spellcasters - more exciting powers to play with (hopefully without overwhelming them), and can thereby get them more invested in the game and their characters.  For the same reason, many of the combat encounters will be quite easy by the standards of regular D&D players, but I want to take into account the lack of experience of the new players, and I do not want combats to drag on.

Well, enough stalling.  Without further ado, here is the adventure: Trials of the Mad Mage!

The following text (even though it isn't yellow) is available as Open Game Content under the OGL.  (c) 2013 Jonah Bomgaars.