Ensign Expendable

I'm going to need a team of Templars ready to mobilise, street level maps of all of Denerim, a pot of coffee, twelve Jammie Dodgers and a fez

14Sep/116

Using Maptool for the Basics

Posted by Ensign Expendable

Mine

Map from my campaign. The party mopped them up.

Recently I mentioned in my previous post that when DMing a one on one game of Dungeons and Dragons 4e over Skype I use Maptool from www.rptools.net as a pretty basic digital battlemat during combat. Seeing that I've heard some people talk about Maptool as if it's only great if you have a lot of time to prepare and learn all of it's features I figured that it was worth writing about how I use it to try to dispel those myths.

Maptool is virtual tabletop software that allows you to display a map and put objects and tokens on the map to represent a combat encounter area in an RPG. It replaces the battlemat and miniatures that you might use in D&D and puts them on a computer screen. It's useful for playing over the internet because players or extra DMs can connect to a central Maptool server and share the play space, including having limited control over it. read on...

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6Sep/114

Dungeons and Dragons With a Single Player

Posted by Ensign Expendable

Over the last year I've been DMing a very unusual game of Dungeons and Dragons. For one it was my first real 4th edition game so I've been learning the rule system and honing my DMing approach to it. For another it's been played over the internet using Skype and Maptools. But the most important thing that makes it unusual is that there is only one player and, for the most part, he plays one character. This provided lots of challenges but also lots of rewards as we worked together to produce what was as much collaborative fiction as it was game.

This is something that I've done on a small scale before. In fact this player and I played our first AD&D 2nd edition games in my parents attic, which we'd renamed The Inn of the Last Home in honor of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman back when we thought they were a duo of female writers. This game however was to last, and did last, for more than the few hours or sessions of my teenage years. It lasted for a year and told a story about a city in the midst of a coup by a demonic entity. We finished a couple of weeks ago with the city being saved but the true extent of the threat being hinted at to set up for next season. read on...

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10Aug/114

Opinions on Gen Con News

Posted by Ensign Expendable

First let me say that I didn't go to Gen Con, I've never been to Gen Con. Google tells me that it's 11,110.9 miles away from where I live so I'm unlikely to make it in the near future. However I'm interested in it for a couple of reasons. The first is that it's heartwarming to hear how people are enjoying themselves, so I was watching twitter over the weekend. The second is that it's a big time for announcements about products that we should expect to see in the next year. Also people were talking about Gen Con twenty years ago when I first started getting in to RPGs and they are still talking about it now. That's a good thing (despite the ups and downs that the con may have had over the years). It still holds a little nostalgic place in my heart like TSR and THAC0 but is still actively being supported.

So having not been there I'm not the person to ask about what the product announcements were, and how cool the people doing the announcements were. I also haven't seen any of the products I'm talking about. There are plenty of places to get that information. Here's a good one for the WotC seminar. I caught the live tweets of those guys to get the announcements live. They also won an Ennie for their blog.

What I'm going to say here is what my thoughts are on some of the announcements. read on...

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27Jul/1110

Review of Etherkai: The First Worldbreaker

Posted by Ensign Expendable

Quinn Murphy mentioned on twitter a while ago that he was unleashing his first Worldbreaker onto the world on RPGnow. I had an idea what he was talking about because I'd read a little about them on his blog but I'm cautious about adding in any extra rules to my 4e game. There is quite enough bloat in the 4e system anyway and more coming all the time (not to mention the publisher seems to be running around in circles a little) and adding in 3rd party complications doesn't thrill me.

I was however impressed that Quinn had done all the hard work and something to publication and out of the door. So for the small amount of money required I was eager to support him by buying it. When I got it downloaded I was blown away by my first impressions.

It looks great. Really great.

Now this is the time to mention the art was by Shane Tyree and the layout by Fred Hicks (yes, that one) but we haven't forgotten Quinn, we'll come back to that in a moment, we're just distracted by the fantastic look of the thing at the moment. read on...

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19Jul/113

Tomb of Horrors in Space?

Posted by Ensign Expendable

I mentioned a while ago that I was thinking of putting together a session of Traveller based on the old Dungeons & Dragons module Tomb of Horrors. I thought that it would be fun to mix it up a bit and do a sci-fi dungeon crawl, and it was. Now this post will contain a few spoilers for anyone who isn't familiar with the Tomb of Horrors should be wary. It is available updated to 3rd and 4th Edition D&D so you might find yourself playing it one day.

To convert the module I had a look through and decided that I only wanted to use the first half of the Tomb. There were a few reasons for this. The first was that I only wanted this adventure to last one evening. These guys are space farers, they don't want to be stuck in a dark underground ancient tomb for very long without good reason. The second was that Traveller characters are fairly squishy and the traps and combats become pretty deadly in the second half of the Tomb of Horrors. You can't just find a cleric that's willing to raise your dead crew mates. They are dead and it's back to character creation and a session to introduce the new character into the story.

Next I had a think about how to handle the magic. This is science fiction, there is no magic unless you include psionics so everything had to be technological. This limited some things and a few had to go. I kept one of the teleporters though. The fact that there isn't any teleportation technology in my galaxy made this significant. read on...