August 31, 2009

Character Concepts From is evil, but maybe it can be made to work for good by providing character concepts? Today's trick will be me trying to make a (sorta) sensible character out of three concepts randomly picked from tvtropes. has a "random article" button, of course. Let's see where I end up...

Mythology 101 Cycle. Not a concept. Moving on...
Arrow Cam. I suppose you could do something with this, but I'll be lazy and move on.
Walking The Earth. That's better. Concept #1 is picked.
Indecipherable Lyrics. We might need a way to filter categories for this to work...
Roadside Wave. Ho hum...
Can't Stay Normal. Second concept nailed down!
Uncle Pennybags. And the third concept shows up in short order.

So in 7 clicks, we have a character who is Walking The Earth (like Banner from that old Hulk show) and Can't Stay Normal. Sounds a lot like Bruce Banner, actually, except he's also Filthy Rich and Not A Jerk About It.

I guess this Frankenstein's Character is some sort of playboy/hippie, travelling the countryside, trying to stay out of trouble as he enters a new town and blends in with the help of a sizable bank account. But then adventure happens and he has to pull out his super powers. Follow the adventures of The Incredibly Rich Hulk on channel five!

This method may or may not need polishing...

August 24, 2009

The SNES Generation And Graphics Appreciation

My first console was a NES. (Well, everyone else had one, while I had a C64.) The graphics on that ranged from "mediocre" to "quite okay". Mostly dependant on techological advances during that console's lifetime, of course.

Furry Mario aside, NES graphics got the job done. To me, there is some limit before the NES era where I just look at screenshots of games and have no idea what is going on.

But then the SNES came, and its graphics went from good (Super Mario World, bundled with the console itself) to awesome (Yoshi's Island). I'm an unashamed member of the SNES generation, so bear with me when I go on...

The Playstation was the next console of choice among my friends. I'm not a fan of the vector graphics that got common in that era. I wonder if there is a generation about five years younger than me that think the Playstation had awesome graphics, the SNES did its job and the NES and anything before it was barely legible...

August 18, 2009

Mondaily Posting

Trying a new scheme. They say people with lives don't read blogs on Sundays, so I'm trying Mondays. Not that expect a dramatic rise in readership or anything.

August 16, 2009

So What's 2011:s D&D 4E Setting?

I have some theories. In order of probability:

1: Spelljammer. It's D&D in spaaaaaace, which should be sufficiently different from the first three settings (pseudo-medieval Forgotten Realms, pulp Eberron and post-apocalyptic sword&sorcery Dark Sun), and equally importantly doesn't block out many existing character options (since it can act as a bridge between other settings). That bridge part is important too - it needs a few other settings to act as a bridge between, but now there are four, counting the implied setting of the core books. (And third-party publishers have had time to put out some 4E settings.)

2: Something original. Maybe a cop-out, but I think it's vastly more likely than any of the old settings right now. I have absolutely no guesses about it, but "generic fantasy" would compete with both Forgotten Realms and "Points of Light" (4E:s implied setting).

3: Al-Qadim. A man can hope. But seriously, "D&D Arabian Adventures" is also sufficiently different that it could sell. Some people keep saying that 9/11 made games about Arabs unpopular, but the video game industry has no such qualms.
My only misgiving about Al-Quadim is that the subject might be too thin to fill two books. Might fit better as a Dragon Magazine series, or a third party setting. The fluff would make or break it - "1001 nights" doesn't bring much new crunch.

3.1: Maztica. Same idea as Al-Quadim, minus 9/11. But the Middle East is cooler than Mesoamerica.

3.2: Kara-Tur. You get the idea.

Those are my three (point two) guesses. And now a quick rundown of what I don't expect:

Pseudo-Medieval Quasi-Europe, The D&D Setting: Dragonlance, Greyhawk, etc. Forgotten Realms needs to fade away first.

Already Folded Into Other Stuff: Planescape and Ravenloft. "Domains of Dread" is a running series in Dragon Magazine and Sigil has been cannibalized for use in both Manual of the Planes and Dungeon Master's Guide 2.

Too thin concepts: Council of Wyrms, Ghostwalk and maybe Birthright. Not enough stuff for two books.

Oh, and I hear the 2010 setting is Dark Sun. Nifty. It might be the first setting book I pick up for D&D.

August 15, 2009

Tell People About Your PC

Chatty DM and Wizards of the Coast are asking you to tell them about your character. On Twitter. One post (130 letters) per character. That's a pretty neat limitation, so I figured I'd try. I have a (rarely used) Twitter account, but I'll repost my submissions here:

Torgal the dwarf and his uncle moved to Sobanwych when his parents died in a cave-in. Now he is looking for adventure in Hommlet.

Edwyn was the adopted son of the town sheriff and a locksmith's apprentice. Perfect cover for a thief.

Chatty's contest is here (and you can post your submission as a reply to that post if you don't have a Twitter account). The submissions are here, and if you really want to follow me on Twitter, I'm here. But I rarely update - those two posts are my first.

Go! And tell people about that really cool ranger that no-one's cared about until now!

August 09, 2009

A Monk By Any Other Power Source

So it's kind of old news now, but there were some differing opinions when WOTC announced the Monk playtest, and made it a psionic class. It doesn't bother me, though. Actually, I was thinking of assigning the monk to all the official power sources in order. Let's go:

Martial Monk - Easy. The 4E Monk already looks half martial, enhancing his martial skills with latent psionic powers.

Divine Monk - The word "Monk" certainly brings the divine power source to mind. The divine Monk is a warrior empowered by her god, much like the Avenger (PHB2).

Arcane Monk - Now it gets trickier. Still, a guy with no armor, no weapons and a decent special effects budget could certainly be magical. Hadoken!

Primal Monk - Okay, this is pretty far off. Still, the Barbarian's rages channel the aspects of certain animals to give him those aspects. The Monk could do the same and be a decent unarmored fighter (but far from the "ascetic on a mountain").

Psionic Monk - Official. As I said, I don't mind the idea. I figure it's very weak psionics, only enough to enhance personal training and sometimes flip out with some kind of blast.

August 02, 2009

Premade Adventures Good? Yes, For Murder Mysteries.

One of my beefs with murder mysteries (and "investigation" adventures in general) is that the DM putting together the adventure knows the capabilities of her players' characters. This can be a good thing, but it also means that she can't truly just lay out a scenario without the nagging realization that one PC can speak to the dead, which affects this part of the scenario, or another is just really well connected to the criminal underworld, which has this effect. And so on.

The obvious solution to this is to have your mystery be written by someone who doesn't know the party layout. Then you get a truly impartial adventure, and if the guy who talks to the dead uses his power now, it at least wasn't subconsciously anticipated.

That means pre-written adventures are good, since most of us can't afford to hire a personal professional writer.

Those are my random thoughts on the subject.