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Archive for the ‘D&D’ Category

As mentioned before, one of the things we are doing as a group is creating a Dungeons and Dragons adventure to parallel our journey and help people have fun and get involved all at the same time.  Today’s post is an interview with the writer of that “adventure path,” Sean.

1. Why Dungeons and Dragons rather than some other system?

For most of the Wayfarers, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a game that has been a part of our lives for years. We’ve tried our hands at dozens of different games and systems, but the one thing we always end up playing time and time again is good old workhorse D&D. When the notion of a quintessential adventuring party is brought up, it makes sense to take it in the context of the quintessential gaming system as well, so it’s only natural that the Wayfarers’ characters be a part of that.

We also felt that since D&D is so widely-popular compared to other, more niche systems, this would make the adventure more accessible to the common gamer.

2. What sort of player will this adventure appeal to?

We really wanted to make this adventure feel like ‘classic’ Dungeons and Dragons. What I take that to mean is that the adventure will contain a lot of elements that will remind a player of the first time they ever played Dungeons and Dragons. Over years of gaming, a lot of players and storytellers feel the need to branch out into ever more diverse and strange adventures just to get a sense of something ‘new’ – with this adventure I’m trying to bring things back to the core concepts and ideas that made role-playing fun for the first-time gamer, while putting new twists on common themes to keep those veteran players on their toes while they’re awash in nostalgia. The followers of the Wayfarers have so far come from either end of the spectrum – hardcore gamer to non-gamer – and I’m hoping that the adventure will be able to reflect that in its appeal to new players and veterans alike.

3. What sort of adventures do you enjoy? How are you bringing that to this one?

My favourite stories in gaming have always been those that involved a sense of discovery, a true adventure. While I respect a good hack-and-slash dungeon crawl, or a thrilling mystery, the sense of awe one can instill in their players with a well-delivered description of some wondrous setting or event, to me is unparalleled. As a storyteller I find it incredibly rewarding to create a rich setting for my players and watch as they get just as much satisfaction from uncovering new lore about the ruins they’re exploring as they would get from defeating a Great Red Dragon. To that end, the focus of the adventure, much like the Quest for the Cure, will be the journey itself. Going to fantastic new places in search of knowledge, truth, and ultimately the creation of some great memories to be looked back upon at journey’s end.

I’ve always made it a priority to ensure that the players feel as though their characters are actually part of a living, breathing world, and this adventure should be no different.

4. Who inspires you as a storyteller or DM?

It’s difficult to really draw specifically from other DMs, as running a game has as much or more to do with personal style as it does with the actual written material. Over my years of gaming (of which there have probably been too many) I’ve played with a lot of different storytellers, each with their own styles and strengths. Paul Grylls for example is exceptional when it comes to creating believable characters in his NPCs, and in creating balanced combat encounters. Drew Rocheleau gets into character for his NPCs like no other DM I’ve seen, and creates very deep plots for his players to delve into. The key as a DM is to be able to recognize these abilities in others and do your best to synthesize them all together into something that works for you and your particular group of players.

I’m sure that I’ve drawn from dozens of different sources to make my style what it is, and I would have to say that what drives me to create a really good story are the books I read, the movies I watch, and the games I play. Almost everything has its points of inspiration, and I find that absorbing nearly any kind of entertainment can put me in the mood to create my own. I often find that walking out of a good movie, or finishing a great book, the first thing I do is sit down and brainstorm some new ideas for a D&D campaign I had put on the back burner, or start writing a short story that I had only ever made the skeleton for.

5. Can you tell us about something specific that you’re looking forward to with this adventure?

One point I’ve always been adamant about in gaming is combat with purpose. That is, there should never in an adventure exist any fight which simply acts as a vehicle for gaining experience points and treasure; There should be a real reason for the battle, and the players should be invested in its outcome. Not every combat needs to end with either A) Victory, everyone lives and the monsters are dead, or B) Defeat, the party is never heard from again. I really want players to walk away from combat with a sense that “Yes, we made it through this, but at what cost?” I’m really excited about this adventure because it will be the inclusion encounters like these, with objectives that extend beyond simply a victory or defeat concept, that will make each adventuring party’s experience a different one.

Who the party is able to help or save along the way, and the choices they make – especially in the midst of combat – will have very real implications for the plot. More than anything, it makes me look forward to gaming groups swapping stories about their time playing this adventure, with no two being alike.

As we posted about in our November 7th article, Mondays for the next little while are being devoted to the Dungeons and Dragons module that we are developing for people who want to get involved with our cause.  The five stock characters who will be included in the module pack all have basic backgrounds that will allow anyone to play them – today ends this segment, with Andrew’s character.

Eoghan’s parents tragically perished when he was quite young, leaving him to the street gangs of a major city. Luckily, his natural charm saved him from the worst of that world, charming his way out of any real trouble. He was only six when he “found” his first musical instrument, a lute.  A passing minstrel, part of a travelling troupe, heard him practising one day and invited him along, promising to teach him songs and sorcery in exchange for agreeing to work for him. Eoghan has only now left that troupe, deciding to strike out in the world on his own.

Character sheet: [coming soon]

The adventurers slept peacefully, dreaming of the treasure they would be busy hauling out of the dragon’s cave, after defeating the great beast in an epic battle.  But their dreams were cut short because their throats were slashed in their sleep by a wandering group of goblins.

That’s not your typical story and certainly not something that adventurers want to have happen to them.  Even adventurers need sleep though, so what do they do to avoid this situation?

They take turn keeping watches throughout the night.

The Wayfarers will be emulating an adventuring party on their Quest for the Cure, and as such, we will also be taking watches every night we’re camping.  While we are aware that there will be no actual goblins to be found during our watch, we will be camping near public roads and it’s never a bad idea to keep a lookout.  Some random people might wonder why someone is camped there and come investigate or some local animals may decide to visit us if our food is accidentally left accessible.

As such, we have already discussed our watch plan and have narrowed it down to these generalizations.

  • Each night will consist of a 10 hour rest period.
  • Four Wayfarers will take watches, while two Wayfarers will enjoy a full night of sleep.
  • Each Wayfarer will cycle from an end watch (1st or 4th), to a middle watch (2nd or 3rd), to a night off.
  • The Wayfarer on the 4th watch will be responsible for preparing breakfast.

The reasoning behind the rotation is at such.  Taking an end watch is easier than a middle watch because your sleep for the night – while shortened – is uninterrupted.  So after taking an easier watch, a Wayfarer would get a watch in which his sleep cycle gets interrupted.  This Wayfarer would then be rewarded with a full night’s sleep the next night to catch up on rest.

One thing we have left to decide is the length of the watches.  We could do the simple thing and divide the watches evenly into 2.5 hour watches.  However, it may be beneficial to make the end watches 3 hours long, and the middle watches 2 hours long.  Waking up for the middle watches will likely interfere with sleep the most, so shortening their length might be beneficial.

Here is an example of a six day segment of how Wayfarers A through F would do watches.  The numbers 1 through 4 indicate the watch number, while the letter S means that particular Wayfarer gets to sleep through the whole night.

Wayfarer

Night 1

Night 2

Night 3

Night 4

Night 5

Night 6

A

1

2

S

4

3

S

B

4

3

S

1

2

S

C

2

S

4

3

S

1

D

3

S

1

2

S

4

E

S

1

2

S

4

3

F

S

4

3

S

1

2

Will this watch plan work for the Wayfarers?  Do you think anyone will fall asleep on their watch?

As we posted about in our November 7th article, Mondays for the next little while are being devoted to the Dungeons and Dragons module that we are developing for people who want to get involved with our cause.  The five stock characters who will be included in the module pack all have basic backgrounds that will allow anyone to play them – today’s is our fourth, with Paul’s character.

At age 12, Razalar lost his entire family to a bandit raid while travelling to the capital city. Razalar survived by hiding under the family carriage as per his mother’s request, and stayed there so long that he succumbed to sleep. That night, he had a dream that led him to a strange tower in the surrounding forest. When he awoke he retraced the steps of his dream to find the tower before him.

The tower was home to a friendly elderly wizard named Galthazam, who took Razalar in and taught the young man in the ways of magic. With Razalar in his twenties, and Galthazam realizing this would be his last living day, he told Razalar that the bandits who murdered his family were after the Ring of the Moon, and that they were still searching for the item.

That night, along with Galthazam’s passing, Razalar had another prophetic dream. He began walking, and let his feet led him to the White Lion inn two weeks later. He didn’t know where they would take him, but he knew that inside this building would be the companions that would help get him the find the Ring of the Moon, and thus, the bandits responsible for the murder of his family.

As we posted about in our November 7th article, Mondays for the next little while are being devoted to the Dungeons and Dragons module that we are developing for people who want to get involved with our cause.  The five stock characters who will be included in the module pack all have basic backgrounds that will allow anyone to play them – today’s is our third, with Drew’s character.

André never had to work for much of anything.  Being born into the notable wealth of a minor noble family, his material wants were easily afforded and were freely given.  Even arcane arts, much to the frustration of his mentors, seemed to flow from him despite his lack of understand or study.  He grew up embracing his noble lifestyle and developed a taste for elegant clothing, lavish foods, and refined surroundings.  Unfortunately, much to the consistent embarrassment of his family, he also had a taste for wild parties, eccentric public appearances, and dangerous (and usually unnecessary) acts of bravado.

Many believed André would have made a good lord.  Despite a lack of modesty and numerous acts of embarrassment to his family, he was well loved by the common folk and was known for being both generous and just.  Being the fourth child of his parents however, André learned early on that his importance was modest at best.  This was just as well for him, for stories from the common folk filled with a longing to chase the horizon.  He wanted to experience strife, travel, and storms.  When he was old enough, he told his parents that he wished to delay his eventual marriage so that he might tour across distant lands.  Officially this was labeled as a way to develop new trade and learn of distant lords, merchants, and lands.  In actuality, his family’s sadness to see him go was matched only by their relief to have him gone.

Character sheet: [coming soon]

As we posted about in our November 7th article, Mondays for the next little while are being devoted to the Dungeons and Dragons module that we are developing for people who want to get involved with our cause.  The five stock characters who will be included in the module pack all have basic backgrounds that will allow anyone to play them – today’s is our second, with Adam’s character.

Declan McBrearty grew up under the stern but loving eyes of his mother and uncle in a city of moderate size near to where the adventure begins.  His mother, uncle and father (before his passing) were adventurers alongside Dherek’s father before settling down in the same city that they grew up in.  Raised as a city boy, Declan always felt constrained by the tall granite walls and towers of the city and often took excursions to the nearby towns for some ‘fresh air.’  As he grew and fostered a strong love for the outdoors these trips became more and more lengthy with Declan ranging away for months at a time.

The skills he learned to keep him alive while abroad were either self taught or, more regularly, gleaned from his father’s journals.  His father, a ranger before him who died adventuring had left behind a bevy of journals detailing his exploits as well as all he knew about the natural world.  Dec cleaved to these like holy scriptures and by the time he had left his adolescence behind he had become a skilled ranger, tracker and outdoors man.

Character sheet: [coming soon]

As we posted about in our November 7th article, Mondays for the next little while are being devoted to the Dungeons and Dragons module that we are developing for people who want to get involved with our cause.  The five stock characters who will be included in the module pack all have basic backgrounds that will allow anyone to play them – today’s is our first, with my character.

Dherek’s parents are the proprietors of the White Lion, the prominent inn-and-tavern in the adventurers’ hometown. His mother, a baker known for her pastries and breads throughout the county, married his father – an adventurer of some small renown in the area himself – and they opened the White Lion shortly thereafter, when Dafydd decided to settle down and start a family.

Dherek, their only child, was raised on tales of adventure from his father and hearty meals from his mother. He grew quickly and could often be found swinging a wooden sword at a post he put in back of the Lion when he wasn’t hauling kegs and carts to and fro for his parents. A massive strength built in him early, and his constant training built skill until his father proudly took him aside, gave him the suit of heavy chain armour he had himself worn almost three decades earlier, and told him to make his own way.

Character sheet: [coming soon]

… the light is dim, with the flames from a dozen torches and a roaring fire battling against the shadows cast by the busy patronage.  A chandelier drips wax above your heads in the rafters, but it can only do so much.

Hay coats the floor and lends the smell of the neighbouring farms to the comforting smells of ales behind the counter and meaty stew being cooked for the night’s meal.  Fresh bread tantalizes you from the oven that is barely hidden by the tavern’s stone walls.

The night is as busy as it ever is, but you manage to find a table with just a few others at it already…

The first D&D map I ever sawI started playing Dungeons and Dragons in sixth grade – or, rather, just after sixth grade, with one of my new friends Jeff.  We played in my bedroom at a card table set up for the occasion.  The adventure was called Escape from Zanzer’s Dungeon, and it took me through everything – how to resolve combat, how to search for traps (and why), and the basics of roleplaying.

I was hooked.  In high school I played D&D almost every Saturday, sometimes for eight hours or more.  By the end of high school these were friends that I did everything with, and sometimes that meant games would go slowly as we made our jokes and spent almost as much time casually socializing as we did rolling dice.  Our group ranged in size from five people to eleven, depending on peoples’ availability.  This was high school to me, and I loved it.

Since then the game has changed – Zanzer’s Dungeon was a “basic” D&D game, and the first rules I learned I only used for that series.  I went through AD&D’s “second edition,” and was the first in our group to embrace the bizarre new third edition when it came out in 2000.  I was, again, ready to see what the fourth edition had to offer when it came out in 2007, though by then our group had graduated from high school and largely gone their separate ways.

D&D was a big part of what made me join Amtgard, and was – I hope it’s already clear! – the inspiration behind this walk’s unique method.  We are aiming to be a classic adventuring party, starting in a tavern and taking a winding route full of history, scenic routes and legendary monsters.  (Don’t try to tell Sean that Nessie doesn’t exist.)

The dice that came with the D&D basic boxed set - the first dice I ever rolled. /wistful sighBecause of this, we are writing a fourth edition adventure path that will take your characters – self-created, or taken from stock characters each of us will be creating for the occasion – from first to tenth level.  This is known in this edition as the “heroic tier,” where you start getting known by the world at large as people willing to go one step above.

Keep an eye here on Mondays for the rest of the year for updates and character backgrounds for our stock characters.  Next week we’ll debut with the leader of the party, Dherek – a chainmail-wearing fighter with a family history of adventurers…