Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Complete Tarot Deck of Many Things

This is a complete Deck of Many Things, and is attributed to the wonderful Thoth Tarot Deck:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

More House Rules II

Here are some more house rules dealing with the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide.

Pg. 25 – Player Character Expenses: 100 GP a month per level? Really? Not including taxes or room and board? That can safely be ignored. The DM will occasionally ding the total treasure brought into town to cover minor costs of living, but not 7200 GP a year + expenses for a party of 6.

Pg. 58 – Outdoor Movement: It is hot and muggy in most areas in Mu. This chart assumes as much and gives movement in miles per day. Easier areas are per the old chart on pg. 58:
Burden.. Normal..Rugged..Very Rugged
Light.. 20.. 15.. 10
Medium.. 15.. 10.. 5
Heavy.. 10.. 5.. 2

Mounted movement miles/day
Mount.. Normal.. Rugged.. Very Rugged
Light.. 50.. 20.. 5
Medium.. 35.. 15.. 5
Heavy.. 25.. 10.. 5
Cart*.. 20.. 10
Wagon*.. 20.. 5

* With some kind of road or flatland.

Pg. 64 – Grenade Like Missiles: Misses: When a grenade like missile misses its target, roll 1d3 and 1d8. The d3 represents the squares away from the target that the missile will land. The d8 gives the direction, clockwise from the target’s square with the front square being “1”.

Pg 72 - Grappling: Grappling is a Strength vs. Strength battle. If a character wishes to grapple another, then he or she must first roll to hit as normal. After hitting, the struggle begins. The procedure is to take the strength of the attacker and compare it to that of the defender. For every point of strength that is different, a plus or minus 5% is given. For example: a person with 16 Strength grapples someone with 12 Strength. 16 – 12 = 4. 4 X 5% = +20%. Therefore the attacker would have a base 50% chance of holding his or her target prone, plus 20% due to being stronger. The attacker would have a 70% chance of successfully Grappling the defender each round, holding the defender prone and unable to act. Of course, the defender must be able to be grappled (i.e. not a slime, or a spirit, etc.)

Pg –192 Harlots: We really don’t need to roll on a chart to determine what kind of harlot you are hiring.

Extra: Suffocation: Suffocation: A breathing, humanoid creature that is roughly human sized, will suffocate to death if they are held without air for their Constitution score in rounds or more. For example: a fighter with a Con of 12 will drown to death if submerged in water for 12 rounds (2 min, 24 sec.)
A similar person held without air for half of their Constitution score (rounding down) in rounds will require additional rounds to recover. For example: if the same fighter with Con of 12 is held for 10 rounds without air. For each round in excess of 6 (half Con), the fighter will require 1 round to recover, or 4 rounds in this case. During those rounds the character will be treated as prone.

More House Rules

Here are more house rules from the AD&D Players Handbook.

Pg 101-102 – Encumbrance: The new chart should explain it. However there should be something said about bulk. It is conceivable that a character would want to carry on his or her back: 100 arrows in five quivers, 10 flasks of oil, 200 feet of rope, 4 javelins, pots and pans, 20 days of food, 2 gallons of holy water, a 10’ pole, 2 blankets, and a backpack full of other stuff. Did I mention that the character was a three-foot-tall Halfling with 18 strength? While it would be possible for the character to carry all of this stuff, it would probably triple his or her size. Let’s be reasonable people. Clearly try to imagine where each piece would fit on the character. If you imagine something that looks ridiculous, then it very likely is.

20 gold coins equal one pound.

Str.. Light.. Medium.. Heavy
3-5.. 16 lbs.. 17-33 lbs.. 34-50 lbs
6-8.. 26 lbs.. 27-53 lbs.. 54-80 lbs
9-11.. 38 lbs.. 39-76 lbs.. 77-115 lbs
12-14.. 54 lbs.. 55-116 lbs.. 117-175 lbs
15-17.. 86 lbs.. 87-173 lbs.. 174-260 lbs
18-18(50).. 133 lbs.. 134-266 lbs.. 267-400 lbs
18(51)-18(00).. 173 lbs.. 174-346 lbs.. 347-520 lbs
19-21.. 266 lbs.. 267-533 lbs.. 534-800 lbs
22-25.. 400 lbs.. 401-800 lbs.. 801-1200 lbs

Armor movement restrictions are in place but no Max. Dex Bonus.

If you are Light or Medium in encumbrance then you get no modifier to movement. If you are Heavy, then you lose 30’ of movement i.e. from 90 to 60. If you are over your Heavy limit or carrying an oversized piece, you lose a total of 60’ of movement. Heavily encumbered characters are –2 on initiative and will only be able to travel half as long over land.

You can always swim if you come up Light.

Infravision in all of its forms has now become Darkvision. The subject gains the ability to see up to 60 feet in total darkness. Darkvision is black and white sight only but otherwise like normal sight. Darkvision does not grant one the ability to see in magical darkness. Someone with Darkvision sees colors in light but they are washed out, never bright. Bright light is irritating to those with Darkvision, but not to the point where normal daylight would hamper their abilities.

Ultravision is improved Darkvision. The 60-foot limit in darkness is removed. Additionally magical items and creatures emit a slight aura when viewed with Ultravision. Invisible is still invisible, however.

Supravision is like Ultravision however magical auras are clearer. Invisible shapes cast a shadow that someone using Supravision can see, if indistinctly.

True Seeing is like Ultravision except that invisible or otherwise magically hidden forms are clearly revealed.

Extra: Jumping: The distance achieved in a standing or running jump is determined by Strength and Movement rate. The distance of a standing long jump is equal to a character’s height, modified by the chart below. The distance of a running jump is equal to a character’s Strength score in feet, modified by the chart below. Encumbered (Heavy) characters lower the modifier by half or -20% for 0 modifier.

Jump Chart
Movement Rate/ Modifier
30.. -75%
60.. -50%
90.. -25%
120.. 0
150.. +25%
180.. +50%
210.. +75%
240.. +100%
270.. +125%
300.. +150%

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why We Play The Game

I have put together a packet I call the “Players Guide” which gives information about my world, my rule changes from the AD&D PHB and DMG, and information on how the game will run. I have edited the packet a few times adding several pages with additional tables, and paragraphs of detail. My players have slowly been coming to me with feedback regarding the changes, but only one has approached me regarding the style of play we will incorporate. It is this feedback that I really want, as helpful as the rules feedback has been.
I posted before now the seven fundamental requirements for playing in my game. These I felt were reasonable and I researched each of them keeping the game context in place. These requirements were also answers to some problems that we have had. Players regularly showing up forty-five minutes late, for example, was a problem I addressed. I want to treat these people like adults but also don’t want to enable rude behavior. The one response I received dealing with these requirements is that my players would not be up for it. That the players won’t want to give up their little abuses and that I should find new players if I want to go this stricter, more “serious” way. I appreciated his feedback. Maybe I do need new players. Or maybe, although I don’t believe this, I need to forget about these new standards and I should just let people do what they do. They enjoyed my game in the past so… Maybe I’m wrong.
Or maybe I’m right. Part of treating these adult people as adults is to respect their words. I have asked each of them how they felt about the packet. So far all but the one has skipped over the requirements section with their feedback, and told me what they liked or disliked about the rule changes. I am certain that they have read the requirements, and at this point will treat their silence as acceptance of those requirements. Nevertheless, I will ask each player more specifically if he or she is okay with the requirements, but that will be their last chance to comment. After that, players, myself included, will be held responsible to their commitment.
So how can an adult game be fun? The game is too serious if we set up house rules for play, isn’t it? If Joe and Frank are an hour late, that just gives the rest of us more time to socialize. If Jane and Sally only speak when spoken to then that’s fine; more time for the real players to have their voices heard. Jim is on his phone so now is a good time to take advantage of his distraction. Speaking of distraction Margaret has fallen asleep on the couch and doesn’t need a share of tonight’s treasure. No one remembers that hint the old man in the tavern gave us last session; I will sneak back and exploit that on my own. Bill didn’t even show up, but hey, it’s only a game. Only a game.
It’s not only a game, people. You are building relationships around that table. You are forming possibly long-term friendships. Wouldn’t that be easier without snide remarks about behavior? What about hurt feelings because a good and fair boundary wasn’t set? What about those two anxious players you have that are frustrated because players are late? Where’s the respect? Players should do what they want to do. If they want to talk on their phones during the game then they should probably find a different game where phone chat is acceptable. They would be happier, and those still around the original table would not be held up.
Come, let us kill Orcs together, unified by purpose and fraternity. Let us scheme the best way to knock over that trade caravan, with each of us working together. Let us delve into that ancient tomb and with concerted effort, put to rest the Lich King of Arswhole. Let’s come to the table as close friends and leave a little closer.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fumbles Chart

Fumbles Chart

If a character makes an attack in a round after moving in the same round, then he, she or it fumbles on a rolled “1”.

1-5 You have dropped your item
6-8 Your attention is unfocused by a glare of light. –4 from your next initiative.
9-11 Blood or sweat get in your eyes. –4 from your next initiative.
12-14 You trip and fall prone. –4 AC until your next action.
15-16 You trip and fall prone, losing your weapon 10’.
17-19 Your ankle gives out on you. Halve your movement for a complete turn.
20-21 You turn suddenly, twisting your ankle. Halve your movement for a complete turn.
22-23 Your knee hyperextends awkwardly with a loud pop. You have 1/3 your movement for two weeks unless healed.
24-25 A forceful pop in your shoulder is heard as your sword arm goes limp. –4 to attacks for a week unless healed.
26 Hit yourself hard in the groin. Deal yourself half damage and fight at –2 for a complete turn.
27-28 You hit yourself for full damage.
29-30 You hit an adjacent companion for full damage.
31-32 You strike yourself slightly on your backswing/motion. Deal yourself half damage.
33-34 You knock the wind out of yourself. Fight at –2 for a complete turn.
35 You have broken a bone in your sword arm. Lose 1/10 of HP rounded up. Gain –4 to attacks and no thief’s skills until healed
36 You have broken a bone in your leg. Lose 1/10 of HP rounded up. Move at 1/3 rate.
37-39 Your weapon becomes stuck in the floor or a nearby object or wall. Can be retrieved with help from one other person.
40-41 Your weapon breaks if it is non-magical.
42-43 You lose your grip and throw your weapon 20’.
44-45 Your attack ricochets back and you hit yourself for half damage.
46-48 Your movements put you severely off balance. Lose Dex bonus to AC until your next attack.
49 You trip, fall prone, and strike your head. Unconscious for 1d6 rounds.
50-51 Your helm becomes twisted, leaving you unable to see. –4 AC until your next action.
52-53 In the heat of massive fumbling, character momentarily loses inhibitions and unintentionally mentions something extremely awkward and otherwise unknown by members in the party.
54-56 Character trips, wobbles, and then crashes into adjacent ally. Both fall prone.
57-58 Character flails and pokes self in eye for 1d4 damage. –2 to hit and AC until healed.
59-60 All your enemies are heartened by your wild fumble. +20% morale.
61-62 You fall prone. Most fragile thing in your inventory is broken.
63-65 You misjudge your offensive and you leave yourself wide open to retaliation. –2 AC until your next attack.
66-67 Handling your weapon like a rank amateur you somehow manage to sprain your wrist. –2 to attacks for a week unless healed.
68-69 In an embarrassing display of awkwardness you overbalance and loose your composure and tumble forward 5’ and collapse.
70 The Invisible monster following you chooses this moment to strike.
71-72 You shriek, spasm and either urinate in fear or orgasm in excitement (player chooses secretly)
73 You've managed to smash your own larynx. Your voice is strained and raspy. For two weeks or until healed it is a real struggle to speak even a sentence.
74-75 Your weapon slips from your greasy, butter fingers. It ends up stuck somewhere that makes it difficult or impossible to retrieve.
76-77 You give your tongue an epic bite! You think part of it might be missing now. Speaking is difficult until you are healed.
78-79 You accidentally slash your own wrist or major blood vessel. Bleed 1/10 of your HP a round, rounding down, until you are healed.
80-81 You fall prone on your face... Hard! (1d6 damage, -1d4 Cha)
82 You fall onto your backpack. All breakables break.
83-84 Your sexy bits flop out! Fix it or risk it getting hurt.
85-86 You fall into a nearest light source. 1d6 damage+.
87-88 Knock yourself unconscious for 1d4 turns.
89 You hit the floor or wall and wake a thousand hornets. –2 to hit and AC.
90-91 You hit a wall support or pillar and are covered in a 20’ wide cave-in. Causes 1d10 damage to all caught.
92-94 Give yourself a bloody nose. -1 to hit.
95-96 Your foot gets stuck in a crack in the floor. Cannot move without help extracting your foot.
97-99 Roll twice and take worst result
100 Roll three times and take worst result.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My DM Guide

Dungeon Master’s Guide Changes "Dungeon Masters Guide" by Gary Gygax. 1978. TSR Games.

Pg 11 – Generation of Ability Scores: Roll 4d6, 6 times, always taking the highest 3 dice and adding them together – ignoring the 4th die. This will give you 6 attribute scores between 3 and 18. These you can plug into the six attributes as you desire.

Pg 12 – It is strongly suggested that every character have a secondary skill that fits their backstory.
Character ages have been streamlined to fit the human life cycle. All characters start as young adults unless their backstories or class insists otherwise. All will be from 16-40 years old.

Pg 13 – The DM will not check every month to see if a player character gets sick.

Pg 15-16 – Racial tendencies are as the player sees fit.

Pg 18 – Paladins warhorse: The first time a paladin calls his steed it will immediately come to him. If the warhorse is lost for any reason then follow the procedure on page 18.

Pg 23-25 – Ignore alignment.

Pg 39 – Spell recovery is covered in the Players Handbook revisions.

Pg 41 – Protection spells do not prohibit bodily attacks (fists, etc.)

Pg 60 – Listening at doors. Humans, Dwarves, Half-Orcs and Half-Elves have a 1 in 6 base chance to hear a noise at a door. Halflings and Elves hear noises at 2 in 10. Gnomes hear noises at 1 in four.

Pg 61 – Surprise: If a party is surprised then members that were surprised can only act in the surprise round if their initiative comes later than the surprisor.

Pg 75 – There is a new chart for turning undead.

Pg 76-78 - can largely be ignored.

Pg 82 – Characters are dead at –10 hit points.

Pg 86 – There is no longer time or cost involved in gaining levels. Characters level up the morning after enough XP is attained.

Pg 221 – Taste and/or Odor: I suggest changing “musty” to “minty."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Players Handbook

My Players Handbook Changes and Comments 10/12/14 ("Players Handbook" by Gary Gygax. TSR. 1978.) (

New Characters - This is a 1st Edition AD&D game ignoring much of the later material including the Wilderness Survival Guide, Oriental Adventures and Unearthed Arcana. New players must create characters staring at 1st level. I want you to make what you want to play. The more of a back-story you create, the more mysterious rewards I will give you. Conversely, you can simply roll up a character without a back-story, taking what you roll.

All classes and races in the Players Handbook are available to you. Magic Users have been re-done, as have Bards and there is a new class called Bashers. Temples to dark gods are rarely tolerated and thieves’ guilds are standardized and regulated.

All Characters start the game with maximum Hit Points. HPs are determined normally after that, by rolling the appropriate die and adding that number to your HPs. One re-roll is allowed at every Hit point increase but the number on the second roll is always used (if made), and is added to your HPs.

Alignments: Alignments are not used. Listed character abilities regarding Alignment are changed. A Paladin’s Detect Evil ability, for example, is more about detecting motives. A Paladin who talks with someone for several minutes would have a real understanding of the motives of the person he or she talked to. The same is true for spells that detect Alignment. None of them detect motives instantly but require conversation. There are no Alignment languages.
You, as a human, know what it means to be “good.” If your character is a Paladin, he or she will be expected to do good, by people and gods. Poison is usually a very slow and cruel way of killing. You would have to decide for yourself if your character would use it. Protection spells are just that. So a Protection from Evil spell or ability simply becomes a Protection spell or ability. Now the protection spell would work against an angel or a demon, and not one or the other. What I gracious DM I am.
It should also be stated that participation and cooperation between players and characters is required. Role-playing is not for you if you if you only want to denigrate or critique others. Insults are not appropriate. Again, I am stressing cooperation here.

Pg 9-13 – Character Abilities (Attribute scores): Ignore the sexism and racism with regards to character attribute levels. Everyone can have an 18/00 strength.

Pg 11 – Dexterity Table: Reaction/Attacking Adjustment is also used as the Initiative Adjustment during combat rounds.

Pg 13 – Character Race Table 1: Character class limitations: Ignore all of that bullcrap. All classes are open to all races.

Pg 14 - Character Race Table 2: Class Level Limitations: Ignore all that bullcrap except for the Race Penalty or Bonus chart at the bottom right of the page. All class levels are not limited by race.

Pg 15 – Character Race Table 3: Ignore completely.

Pg 15-18 – Race Ages. All races are available but all have the lifespan of a human. A 16-year-old Elf is a young adult. An 80-year-old Dwarf is very old.

Pg 18 – Racial Preference Table: Ignore. A book need not tell you how you get along.

Pg 24 – Rangers: The +1 per level they get against ridiculous “giant class” creatures now extends to work against all bipeds not just those listed.

Pg 26 – Magic Users and Illusionists: Very Different. We are switching to a Magic Point (MP) system. The amount of MPs you have determines how many levels of spells you can cast. If you have 5 MPs then you can cast five 1st level spells, or two 2nd level spells and one 1st, or three 1st and one 2nd. The magic point allotment gained is one point per level, plus one for every other level. You will start with two MPs. Here is the breakdown per level:

Level Magic Point Total
1 2
2 3
3 5
4 6
5 8
6 9
7 11
8 12
9 14
10 15
11 17 ect.

Understand that the charts on pg. 26 still give spell level limits. For example, a 5th level Magic User can only cast up to 3rd level spells. He or she cannot cast an 8th level spell to match their 8 total MPs.
Additionally, spell memorization is out the window. You do not forget spells but can cast whatever spells you Know, as your MPs allow. You may run out of MPs, reflecting the exhausting of magical power from within a caster, and therefore you would not be able to cast any spells until you rested.

To completely regain all of your MPs takes 8 hours. You may regain MPs piecemeal as well, rounding down. For example, if you have used all 12 of your MPs but only want to rest for two hours, then you divide your Maximum MPs by 8. This gives you the amount of MPs you get back with every hour of rest. Thus, with two hours of rest you would get back 3 MPs.
Spell books and learning spells follow the same process. Scrolls require no MPs to use.

Pg.28 – Thief Function Table: Add 16% to thieves Hear Noise ability.

Pg. 29 – Characters using disguises who are not Assassins have a 5% chance cumulative per day of having their disguises seen through.

Pg 30 – Monks: The justification for Monks only having a D4 Hit Die is ridiculous. Magic Users use a D4 and are described as “weak in combat.” Monks are described as having “rigorous…physical training” as well as having “knowledge of weapons and anatomy.” Therefore, as Monks attack off the Thief’s matrix, so do they get d6 Hit Dice. They also get any Strength modifiers when using weapons (not fists) for both To Hit and Damage.
Pg 32 – Multi-class Characters: There are no Multi-class characters. Duel class characters are still an option.

Pg 35 – The Monetary System: 10 Silver Pieces equals 1 Gold Piece. The rest are the same.

Pg 36 – Armor Class Table: Full Plate Mail, without shield, grants AC 2. It’s different from normal Plate Mail. Large metal shields provide 2 pts. of AC instead of 1 pt. Think Roman or Hoplite shields as being Large shields. Thus, a fighter wearing Full Plate Mail and Large Shield has an AC of 0.

Pg 38 – Ignore Armor Class Adjustments as noted on the weapon charts.

New Content: A Stun occurs if someone takes 1/3 of his or her HP rounded down in one damaging event. They cannot move or fight for a round. There is no AC penalty for being stunned. A PC’s Stun number is determined based on Max HP. It changes when HP are permanently increased or decreased. For example: A fighter with 30 max hit points has a stun number of 10. If she loses 10 hit points from one attack, she is stunned. A stunned character will effectively miss their next action. The player is responsible for informing the DM at the call for initiative that they are stunned.

Pg 9 – Time: The Time standard given seems better suited to war games and not an intimate role-playing game. Time is thus broken down further:

One Segment = One Second
One Round = Twelve Seconds
One Turn = Ten Rounds or Two Minutes.

Pg 40 – 42 – Spells: Mostly unchanged except for the Alignment spells, obviously. Note the impact of refined time measurements. Also, there are no Material components required for any spell, however, all spells have Verbal and Somatic components excepts spells with the word “Word” in their title. “Word” spells have only a Verbal Component. Holy Symbols are still required for Clerics and Druids (mistletoe). Some other changes are:

Flame Arrow is a First Level Magic User spell now, and it still sucks.

Know Alignment is now Know Motivation. The caster will know the motivation of the recipient with regards to a specific context. The caster might ask, “Would that Ogre over there likely attack me if it saw me?” The referee would reply appropriately: yes, no or maybe.

The 5th Level Cleric Spell Atonement will also cure insanity.

Dispel Evil is now just Dispel. It causes summoned creatures or magically controlled beings to return to their plane or place as noted.

Raise Dead has no racial limitations on who can be raised. The time limit to Raise someone is one week per level instead of one day per level.

There are no Bigby’s spells.

Pg 104 – Initiative is taken every round of combat. The procedure is to roll d10 and add the Reaction Modifier for each character and monster(s). The round will proceed in the order of the results, high to low.

Pg 107 – Just putting this here… “Keep in mind the principal reason for restriction of the use of poison - the game must offer challenge. If poison is limited or specially treated, you will understand and co-operate.”

Pg 110 – Psionics: Psionics are a freeking mess. They are not available to characters and are only available to certain monsters where the use of psionics is clearly spelled out.

Basher (Fighter sub-class)

The principal attributes of a Basher are strength and dexterity. To become a Basher, a character must have a minimum strength of 16 and a constitution of 14 or greater. A dexterity of at least 15 and an intelligence of 13 or more are also required. If a Basher has strength of 18 or above, he or she adds 10% to experience points awarded by the Dungeon Master.

Bashers have a Twelve-sided die (d12) for determination of their hit points per level. Bashers are the strongest of characters in regards to sheer physical strength and speed, and they are the best at hand-to-hand combat. Any sort of armor or weapon is usable by Bashers, however Bashers can only ever be proficient in two weapons, a ranged weapon and a melee weapon. They are ardent specialists. They suffer a –4 to hit penalty with any other weapon.

The special ability of Bashers is that they can attack at twice the rate of normal fighters, exactly double the rate shown in the Fighters chart on page 25 of the Players Handbook. For example, a 1st level Basher will have 2 attacks a round. A fifteenth level Basher will have four attacks a round.

Bashers use the most advantageous combat table, same as fighters and also save as fighters. Bashers can employ many magical items, as fighters can. They gain levels at the same pace as Paladins, using the same experience chart, but will only ever use the title of “Basher.” Bashers gain 3 hit points per level after 9th.

Bashers are vigorously sought as personal bodyguards for wealthy merchants and aristocrats. They undergo the most rigorous of physical training in preparation for service but are also highly educated in combat tactics and strategy. Duty and honor are foremost on their minds, above personal ambition, desires or profits. This focus is an important part of their training. Giving in to personal selfishness would destroy a Basher, yet they know what their skills are worth.


A bard is a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities. They may sing songs recalling a warriors' deeds of bravery, as well as praising the lord’s family history. Bards are steeped in the history and traditions of peoples and nations, as well as in the technical requirements of a verse technique. As officials in the court of kings or nobles, they perform a number of official roles. They are chroniclers and satirists whose job it is to praise their employers and damn those who cross them.

The bard class is versatile, capable of combat, thieving, and of magic. Bards use their artistic talents to induce magical effects. To become a bard, a character has to begin with very high ability scores. These are minimums: Strength 13, Dexterity 15, Charisma 15, and Intelligence of 12. They use 1d8 for hit dice and gain levels using the same experience chart as magic users. They use the thief matrix for finding to hit numbers.

Bards have the combined abilities of both fighters, magic users and thieves. In addition to these they know lore, history and myths of various peoples. They also have a special ability to know legendary information about magic items that they may encounter. Legend Lore and Item Knowledge Percentage shows the chance that the bard has of knowing something about a legendary person, place or thing, or of knowing what a particular magic item is. The latter ability is limited to weapons, armor, potions, scrolls, and those items of magical nature which the bard can employ, or which bear magical inscriptions; for all bards know runes, glyphs, characters, symbols, etc.
Due to training and experience, a bard has knowledge of many legendary and magical items, and this knowledge increases as the bard progresses upwards in level. If some legendary knowledge is appropriate and the dice score indicates that the bard has knowledge in the area, then his or her ability will deliver information similar to the magic-user spell, legend lore (q.v.). Without actually touching an item, the bard also has a like chance of determining its magical properties. This latter ability is limited to: armor, misc. weapons and misc. magic items as usable by a magic user, fighter or thief:
Potions, rings, rods, etc.- if usable by a magic user, fighter or thief, scrolls, and swords.*

Bards use and gain Magic Points as magic users do except that they gain but 1 magic point per level, starting with 1 at level 1. Spellbooks and the process of leaning spells are identical to those of magic users. They also have the same spell level limits as magic users. They may still cast spells wearing leather armor.

Bards also have certain thief skills, using the same charts and modifiers as thieves. The skills that Bards have are pick pockets, open locks, hear noises and read languages. They gain 20% to the listed ability for read languages. They do not have the backstab ability.

Bards Table: Armor and Weapons Permitted**: Leather or padded armor only. No shields.
Club, dagger, dart, javelin, sling, scimitar, short bow, spear, staff, sword***
He or she must always have a musical instrument.

The bard's poetic ability raises the morale of associated creatures by 10%. It likewise can inspire ferocity in attack, so hit probability die rolls are given a bonus of +l to allies and themselves. Both of these characteristics require 2 rounds of poetics to inspire the desired effect, i.e. 2 rounds of poetics will raise morale and cause ferocity, but 1 round will do neither. The effects last for 1 complete turn. Once the effect is in place (after two rounds of performing) the Bard can join in the melee or participate in the fight as desired. The Bard’s inspirational song will improve in effect as he or she gains levels.
A bard's continued singing and playing negates the song effects of certain monsters that have attacks that rely upon singing.

Except as previously noted, bards are able to use magic items which are permitted to magic users, fighters and thieves. Magical books/librams/tomes which pertain to magic users, fighters, or thieves are also beneficial (or baneful) to bards, and these items can raise fighting or thieving ability. (If a writing is baneful, treat the bard as the least favorable of his three classes.) Miscellaneous magic items of a musical nature are superior when employed by a bard.

Bards will never serve another as a henchman for longer than 1 to 4 months. They are unable to employ henchmen other than magic users, fighters or thieves. It is possible for a bard to have 1 henchman upon attaining 5th level, 2 henchmen can be maintained upon reaching 8th level, 3 at 11th, 4 at 14th, 5 at 17th, 6 at 20th and any number at 23rd. This is subject to the bard's charisma rating, of course. Only bards of 23rd level will settle down and construct a stronghold of any sort.

* - Unless inscribed with magical writing, in which case the bard can read what is written.
** - Includes any magical weapons and armor of the named type
*** - Bastard, broad, long, short

Level College (title) Inspiration to hit Legend Lore
1 Probationer +1 10%
2-4 Fochlucan 15%
5-7 Mac-Fuirmidh +2 25%
8-10 Doss 35%
11-13 Canoith +3 45%
14-16 Cli 55%
17-19 Anstruth +4 65%
19-22 Ollamh 75%
23 Magna 85%

There are no more levels to be gained after 23. Bards gain 2 Hit Points per level after the 9th.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rules To Play By

If you want to play in this game, I will treat you as the that adults you are, and hope that you do the same to me:

1. If you want to play then you must commit to play. The game is WHAT YOU DO on Saturday nights. Exceptions exist, of course. Still, I will not ask you to find out who is up for the Saturday game every week. You will be expected to show up unless you state otherwise.
2. If you want ME to PROVIDE YOU a fun time, this isn’t the game for you. You are an equal participant. The Players make the story. The DM fills the spaces in between.
3. Leave your cell-phone on vibrate and I-pads and laptops at home. If you want or need to use your phone during the game then you need to leave the room.
4. We will be sitting around a table versus on couches.
5. You need to commit to be at the game on time. You are responsible to contact me if you will not make a game session.
6. If you only speak when spoken to then this game is not for you. You must initiate speech, ask questions at the very least. If you are content to let others DECIDE the shape and content of your story, to just follow them along, then you are not role-playing.
7. You will need to keep up Facebook or Email messages during the week. Respond if appropriate. Please respond to “in game” messages, in the rare instances that there would be a need.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Rant That Is More Than A Rant

I will not find perfect players for my game. I do not deserve perfect players in any case, because my preparedness, as DM, is far from perfect. Nevertheless, I want good players. I think I have a lot of world and opportunities to offer good players. Good players would make me better too. To be selfish for a moment, this is what I really want, to get better at DMing. Only players that seek more will get me there.

I have had players that I honestly feel would be okay with me telling them all that happens, that they never have to speak a word, just roll dice from time to time. I’ve also had players that won’t shut up. I’ve had players that make a joke out of everything and slander the other PCs. I’ve had way too many players who panic when a rule or structure is unset or made vague. I have had too many players that expect me to provide them with entertainment. I’ve had players get drunk during the game. I’ve had players, good people, be confused about what a “good” character would do. I have had players that always play the same character, no matter what class the characters are.

I expect, and I repeat, I expect that my future players will want to improve their playing in the same way I want to improve my DMing. I will insist on it. That quiet player will work towards speaking and engaging more. That loud and loquacious player will learn temperance and how to listen. That funny player will stop insulting other players for a laugh and will pursue a serious course. Those rules lawyers and petty arguers? They are gone. Players that expect me to tell their stories for them will exercise creativity. Players will not drink in my game. If players are confused or too reliant on Alignments to determine what they will do, I will eliminate Alignments.

Players will be stretched and will stretch themselves. I want an immersive game which becomes so much more possible when relationships are building and everyone is playing the same game. By them engaging, using their brains and their creativity, I will have to engage more, use my brain, and expand my efforts at answering creativity with positivity.

My game will improve. There is obvious room for improvement. To settle would lead me to quit. There are too many other options to pursue if I am stuck in a dead game.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The RPG Initiative Board by Alea Tools

I congratulate Jeff and the rest at Alea Tools for doing so well on their Kickstarter for the RPG Initiative Board. It’s great to see gamers fervently supporting aids to their favorite hobbies. When something this simple gets this kind of support, it gives me hope that more and more attention will come to table-top gaming. There is a lot of bad, unhealthy attention out there but the more we have, the better chance we have at getting good attention.
As for the product in question, I don’t think I have any use for it. I like aides that speed up the things that take time away from play. For example: if I don’t have to take time to look up how a spell or an item works, because I have the info in front of me, that’s a good aide. Controlling time is important in the game. Little will spoil the tension of a good battle scene more than if the DM is lost for minutes in his books.
First, here’s the method for initiative that I use. I take a piece of graph paper, listing everyone’s character name, and I put a couple of spaces for monsters. Then I ask for and input the player’s initiative rolls and the monster rolls. And there we go, I call out who is up in order of their modified rolls, and that’s it. Seems quick and non-obtrusive.
The RPG Initiative Board has to be managed. Someone has to take time and manage the Board physically before and during the rounds of combat. Instead of the DM quickly saying who is up, we fiddle with the Board. Understand that it’s even less useful for me because I determine Initiative every round. So Bob may go first in round one but fourth in round two. That’s a lot of Board manipulation that slows down the combats. Seems to me that whoever is in charge of the Board would quickly tire of changing it all the time.
Another issue is that I don’t think the players should know when the monsters have their moves. There is some great tension to be had wondering if your heavily damaged character is going to get his or her turn before the dragon eats them. I could withhold the monster’s initiative, but then I’m recording in two places. I might as well just write them all down. Writing is faster. I cannot stress enough that we are playing role-playing games, not board games. In a board game, this kind of tension isn’t as important.
Be careful with this kind of tool. Remember what you are playing; a game that should move more and more toward a personal and immersive experience. We do not want to bore people but to thrill them.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Bizarre Scene

The adventurers come upon a rough, one-room cabin in the woods. It is ramshackle, about to collapse by the look of it. From outside the cabin, the party can hear a woman screaming in pain. Her agony will continue until the party intervenes. The door of the abode is unlocked and falls off its hinges if opened. Inside the shabby dwelling is a man and a woman. The woman lies on her back, atop a blood soaked bed. She is in labor, in the midst of a difficult delivery. A wide-eyed man in a worn tunic stands over her, moving from side to side, unsure what to do. A few chairs in the room look to have been shattered against the walls.
Some kind of rupture has occurred, the adventurers can see serious blood flowing from the woman. She is in deadly danger. Between screams she will implore the party to help but won’t say how.
The man will start to cry and say, “My lady, your fruit has fallen from the tower, and the ostrich has yet to return.” He will continue to flutter around in anxiety. He can not lend a helping hand.
No form of healing will halt the woman’s blood loss. Her turmoil can be soothed by party members if they are willing to help in the delivery. If they don’t help then the woman will die without giving birth. At least three adventurers need to help in order to save her, weather trying to comfort her or helping with the actual delivery. Anyone that helps will get splashed with or covered in blood.
If the party helps then a baby will be delivered. Immediately afterwards the man will scream and run outside the house, unless stopped – not that it matters. If he is retained, he will babble, “Aid only comes from the blue, the hue that is true. I’m so, so sorry. The ravens have eaten all the breadcrumbs.”
The woman will smile with relief after the delivery, shortly before dying. Then, while the infant is held by a party member, the woman, man, the very house will all vanish. The party will find themselves in a small clearing in the woods, where the cabin was. The sights, smells and sounds are all gone without trace. The blood remains, however, and in the place of the baby is a blood-covered book. If the party doesn’t help then the cottage will still disappear within two rounds of the woman’s death.
The book is large, containing several hundred pages, and it is locked closed with an ornate golden lock. It has no sigils upon it. It will radiate magic if checked, as will the lock. Where might the key be? Is there a magical means to open the book? These are for the DM to determine.

The entire scene is actually the dream of a sleeping god. The party can interact with it but nothing physical will come from it save the blood and the book. The blood can be wiped away normally but it does mark the PCs as participants in the dream. This is a side-effect of the god waking up. The god will bestow a blessing on those PCs that helped it’s dream end well, with the woman delivering. Likewise the god will curse those that failed to help. The blessing is that the first successful attack given by each marked PC, in their next fight, will deal an extra 3d8 damage.
They will also have the book, which, if they manage to open it, will contain a research spell of the DM’s devising, or five fifth level spells (three Magic User, two Cleric.) These can be determined randomly. They represent some aspect of the god’s knowledge, locked away deep in the god’s mind.
The curse is for the whole party, as the god did see them all fail to help in its dream. All of the party members will gain acid for sweat. This acid will destroy non-living material such as clothing and non-magical armor within five rounds. If members strip naked within 3 rounds and remain so for 1d6 hours, then the acid will become normal sweat again, and their equipment will be saved. The acid will not harm the PC it comes from but touching another person will inflict 1d6 damage.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Chance To Complain

I’m going to take the opportunity to gripe about some of my past players. Some of these people are friends, some were strangers. All have done some pretty ridiculous stuff, behavior that I would try to steer clear from when inviting players into your serious game. I will start with more thematic problems before going into specifics.
First off is commitment. I have had players tell me that they are only playing the game because they have no girlfriend. If there were anything else to do on Saturday night that didn’t cost money, then they would do that, especially when someone to hold hands with went along side. I also have had players that are regularly up to an hour late for the game. These same people are also not going to call and say that they will be late. I have also had the dreaded no-call-no-show from players who miss a game. I promise you that there are enough players to play with that will commit to being there on time, most of the time. Don’t settle for less.
Next complaint is against players that take a whimsical attitude toward the game. They take funny character names to prevent their participation from being taken seriously. They joke, impersonate cartoon characters, belittle each other with silliness, and the ever popular purposeful fart. This “comedy” ruins the tension that exists in a good game. It minimizes the impact of drama and emotionally charged scenes. I believe that silliness is used by immature players to make serious, uncomfortable situations less serious, and more comfortable for themselves. The game is fun enough on its own without over the top ridiculousness. On the other hand, serious anger can make the game feel unsafe. Explosions of anger need to be dealt with immediately and corporately. Time to be adults, people.
Establish boundaries early in your game. I have had players that like to roleplay everything. Instead of a player saying, “When we get into town, we go to the Inn” we would get one player wanting to have a long dialog with the town guard. The DM can’t end these meaningless discussions soon enough. The players hopefully know by now what the town guards are there for and can figure that they live the lives of guards. Some players might be inclined to ask, “Well, how do we know if the guard has any important information unless we ask?” Any DM worth his salt will drop a hint somewhere along the line. That Ogre the party killed last session had a formal message on his body saying that a guard in Town “X” is actually an Ogre spy. If party members want to explore every shop owner, noble and prostitute in town, then your game is in danger. You will have one player doing all the dialogs, and four players falling asleep.
Back on boundaries again. I have had a situation where players wanted to go deep into roleplaying, to the point of LARPing. A player wanted to act out her scenes with the other players, invading their space, touching them, attempting to convince them to follow her ideas. For her, a warning was sufficient, the boundary set. No touching.
Two more issues have also come up, one internal, one external. The internal issue is a player who wants to play a different game than everyone else. We are still playing D&D here, but four players are playing cooperatively, and one player is playing competitively. Playing against the game isn’t enough for this player. He or she is only looking out for number one, first and foremost. The party Thief may be selfish, but not to the point of being destructive to the rest of the party. A healthy game is a cooperative game.
An external problem, simpler to deal with, is the advent of electric media. I cannot tell you how many times my players have missed an important description or dialog because their faces are stuck in their cell-phones. Have your players turn those things off upon sitting at the table. If someone has to have their phone on, for work or what have you, then it needs to be on vibrate. Most importantly, no one in the game-room is allowed to talk or text on their phones or devices. Take the call outside and come back when you are ready to play.
Another, more poisonous fault I’ve had to deal with is players hijacking the game for their own purposes. The adventure, and the blessed storylines all stop because a few players decide that nothing more can happen until “X” occurs. That is fine, if the players are on board and quickly working to solve the issue. However, my example was nothing less than destructive. I had the problem where the party tried to formalize a method by which treasure would be divvied out fairly, only the party failed to come to any conclusions. Three sessions were devoted to solving this and some party leadership issues. Nothing was gained except anger and resentment as one plan after another was shot down. In the end, when moving forward was put upon the players, three players decided they couldn’t proceed until the issues were solved. Those players left the game. They made a mountain out of a molehill and it almost destroyed the game.
I’m sure there are more dangerous things that people want to bring into your game, and not just the newness and coolness of the latest sourcebook. Be wary. Hold to your set boundaries. Be an example to the other people at your table. If you can have half as much fun as my friends and me do, then I hope the fun and the strength of your relationships only improve.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pathfinder Whining

Ah, money. I recently decided to have my cleric retire from the Pathfinder game I’m playing in. I changed my mind but the problem still exists. It was determined randomly from the start that my character came from a rich family of merchants. He also has some business gifts in math. My character could probably live a happy life as a merchant.
Instead he has gone through several adventures and near death experiences. He has been in command when a companion of his died. In the end, they’ve made a pittance with most of the monsters they’ve faced having no loot. The DM seems to be running a low treasure game.
That’s fine. I like low treasure, low income, and low magic games. I do ask, however, that the price lists for mundane equipment recognize the fact that the economy is tight. Such has not been the case, with my PC having to worry about having enough to buy food.
Running out of food is the depths of a dungeon is one thing, namely poor planning on the player’s part. Worrying about the basic needs of my character standing in front of the market is another. If I’m going to keep playing, then I might be more happy with a character that can live in the rough, a Ranger or some such.
The bigger picture, of course, is that this theme has come up again. The party of leveled characters is being made to look mundane and far from special, far from heroes. This isn’t Call of Cthulhu. We are not normal, everyday people, faced with dreadful monsters. We are specially trained, have made substantial investments in time, armor and weapons. We hunt monsters. We kill stuff. It’s time we were rewarded for it.

A Bad Trope

Our last session of D&D brought me down. Something that can be nothing less than a bad role-playing trope was inflicted upon us. It was everyone’s favorite, the bar-room brawl.
We had climbed out of the sewer and the nasty fights therein. We opened a door and found ourselves in a seedy bar. We had managed to wash the filth off of ourselves, so we weren’t covered in slime, filth and gore. Nevertheless, we were looking for blood, armed and armored as any adventuring party would be.
Imagine if you will, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, The Rock, and Dolph Lundgren, all wearing black leather and each toting a shotgun and an uzi. Imagine them coming into your favorite bar and demanding that everyone get out. I don’t know about you but I am outta there. Even if my friend gets shot, I am outta there. Sorry friend.
This was the situation when we burst upon this dim tavern. Half of the commoners in the room fled, as they should. The other half attacked us, unarmed and unarmored. Why, in any world, would that happen? How ludicrous a scene is that? Excuse me, Mr. Diesel, as I try to punch you in the face.
We laid into them, cutting them to shreds with our steel and spells. My Cleric wasn’t quite able to believe what was happening so he healed everyone and commanded them, again, to withdraw. They didn’t. In fact they broke bottles and attacked us anew.
Eventually we slew enough of them to make them flee. At the end of the fight, the cops come in and try to arrest us. SO… We escaped back into the sewer. Now the entire city watch is looking for us. Our option to get out of trouble with the Town Guard? A railroaded side-quest. Ugg.

Random Rants

Another note on playing the game. It has come to my attention that some players of D&D, among other RPGs, play to abuse, even break the system. Role-play? So long as it doesn’t interfere with tearing into the system, rending it for all of its problems. And why not? The games all have problems. Why not exploit them? Reality? Physics? What’s important? The rules are important. Refer to the books. The books have the final say. That’s why it’s a game and not just make believe.
That said, ask yourself, the other players around you, what kind of game are they looking for? Do they all want to get deep into the system, deep into the words of the books? Would they like to take a fair amount of game time to discuss and iron out interpretations of the rules? There is a lot to interpret, especially for those that really like breaking down the rules. What do the other players want to get immersed in?
You see what I did there? I made it about the other players. Players should always do that. I guarantee you will have a ball if you are looking out for the other players and they are looking out for you, and each other. The characters don’t need to be nice to each other all of the time but the players should be, and even their characters should be cooperating. If you have a hog player, then he or she is looking out for themselves. It requires more effort by the other players just to be heard and respected. On the other hand, quiet players are also only looking out for themselves. They require more effort from the other players toward inclusion. It’s best and not unrealistic to have a table full of pretty darn balanced players. Insist on it.
Go take care of each other. Grow your relationships while playing this amazing game. Push yourselves. Stretch yourselves. If you want to relax, hang out, and have a few beers, go bowling. If you want to sit back, watch, and roll dice, go shoot Craps. If you want to dominate the scene, and be in control over your lessers, go get therapy. Life is too short and the highest potential of this game is too great to settle for less.

My Awesome Suitcase

Found this awesome suitcase at the SPCA Thrift Store. $1.50. Thanks Matt for passing it up.

You Are Playing Wrong

Something that is apparently easy for D&D players to say is that “there is no wrong way to play” the game. Further that so long as people are having fun, the game is being played right. It’s right for them. Some of my players casually say this.
They are wrong. There are several wrong ways to play D&D. I’m not going to say that one system or another is wrong, they are all wrong about something. I am going to focus on wrong ways to play. It’s the method of playing that is important.
An open system is the best system to play in. It gives the players the most freedom to do what they want. Freedom is best. That said, freedom is also cursed. It allows people to fully engage and embrace the worst part of themselves. Terrorists thrive in countries that have the most freedoms. Similarly, Trolls thrive in games where they can behave in any way they want.
Do you tolerate an abusive player in your game? Do you tolerate “competitive” players in your game, where players are playing against each other more than they are against the adversaries in the game? How about players that hog all the action, and then only criticize the ideas of other players? These players are probably the easiest for a healthy game to get rid of; there is no question that their behavior is wrong. Usually it falls to the DM to say this ‘far and no farther’, but this should be, and is, the power of every player at the table. If a proper boundary is set, and then crossed without consequence, the game should end.
An abusive player is not the only player that is playing wrong. A player that hardly plays is also playing wrong. I can understand young players coming to the game for the first time, taking a back seat and staying quiet most of the night. However, as time goes on, the quiet player, content only to roll dice when asked, needs to speak up. The most important part in a role-playing game is the role-playing. If people insist on remaining quiet, forcing other players to pick up their slack (with ideas and story progression), then they should be playing board games instead of RPGs. You don’t need to talk much when playing board games, and those games usually have that wonderful die rolling.
There are more types of players playing wrong, but this is enough for now.

My Introduction To Pathfinder II

June, 2014 - I had trouble waking up today. No really, I had trouble waking up today. My character was asleep when the Orcs attacked. Bells ringing, people screaming, steel clashing, and yet I couldn’t roll well enough to wake my character up. This was explained after the fact by saying that my character drank too much the night before. Something I stated at the time that my character didn’t do.
So my character ceased to be a hero for a few rounds, becoming over the top mundane. The story went out of my hands and into the rulebook. Therein was found whatever rule that made me roll to wake up. Understand please, the rulebook was telling my story. My story! I don’t blame the DM for this. He’s just following the rules for the game.
I will endeavor to tolerate this game, for the sake of contrast with other games. My education requires exposure to unpleasant things. My house also plays host to my gaming group, although I do wonder if they are enjoying Pathfinder at all. We enjoy each other’s company, and that is most important, but there are scores of other things we could do for fun.

My Introduction to Pathfinder I

June, 2014 - I am a long time AD&D player, that is, I play an earlier version of the game that came out prior to 1987. I have limited exposure to later systems, via computer games, i.e. Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. This is my first experience actually playing a character in any later version. I appreciate that Pathfinder is set apart from Wizards of the Coast’s inflated D&D product line. I don’t like that Pathfinder has totally inflated its own presence in the same way. But I will retell my experience of playing Pathfinder here.
I was struck by the complexity involved and the time it took to make characters. I didn’t care for that. Some might argue that having all of these variables, these options stated in the books, makes it easier to create and run a unique character. I disagree. Surely it should be up to the player to make the character unique. There is no character creation ruleset that, by itself, makes a character interesting. Read any novel. How often do you like the main character that is like every other main character? How good would mystery novels be if every detective was some form of Dick Tracy? I suggest that the fewer rules you have in character creation, the more unique and interesting the character HAS TO be.
My next critique is all of the rolls. I find myself rolling dice to see if I am successful at doing things slightly greater than mundane. What I like about AD&D is that the characters are heroes. I don’t need to roll to see if I fall on my face when I jump from the top of a stationary wagon. I’m a hero, and so I land with style, style reflected in the fact that I have an above average Dexterity. No roll should be needed.
The real problem with the rolls is the time it takes to do them. It hurts the pacing of the scene. Let me describe what I am talking about, if I can. We have five players sitting around a table. The Dungeon Master has thrown a bunch of Orcs at the party, an ambush. Scores of them, waving falchions in the air as they charge forward. Instead of allowing the danger to be realized and the tension to build, we get a call for a large number of individual die rolls. We have charts and rules from some book telling us how we are situated to meet the threat. And, of course, if I do roll bad, and my character falls off the wagon, then all of the players laugh at my gaff. Where did the tension go?
My DM is skilled. Let’s see where this goes next.

My Mistakes As DM II

D&D is fun, mainly because of the people sitting around the table. Let me be clear, the game itself is less fun. If I have a bunch of people who hate each other around my table, then the game is not going to be fun. If all the characters die in one event, then that probably won’t be fun either. If one person is hogging all of the time insisting on pointless role-playing, then the game will not be fun. With all these and more, the uninitiated (with group fun) might wonder what fun there is to have. The danger lies in striving for or allowing fun in a light-hearted, funny way. This is my sin. I have allowed comedy to break up the tension on too many occasions. It started simply enough, with the players choosing overly silly names for their characters. Innocent fun I thought. But now the names are a big part of the chiding fun that players have. It is nearly impossible to have serious play with a character named ‘Mergatroid Balls.’ Now when something serious happens, the uncomfortable player makes up a funny turn of phrase about Mergatroid Balls. Where did my tension go? Other players have created all-encompassing back-stories for their characters. This allows them to break tension by pulling out some funny reference from the back-story, and inserting it into the play. This will happen more than you think. Fun is had because the people you are playing with are great, not because of some funny, in-game gimmick that you have created or allowed. You might laugh once at a silly reference, but remember what that encourages in the players around you. I have learned much. I can say without fear that my game will be more fun than ever now that the tension is back.

My Mistakes As DM I

In the late 70’s, Doctor Who had a tool for every occasion. He needed to stop an enemy, he had K9. He needed to open a door, he had the Sonic Screwdriver. These things plus amazingly capable companions made the writing for the show extremely easy. There was always an easy tool for the doctor to use, an easy solution. He didn’t have to use his brain for all of these little problems. A similar issue is rampant in role-playing games. Having an alignment system in my game was a mistake for this and other reasons. When I start another campaign, I won’t use an alignment system. That does not mean I won’t use Dungeons & Dragons, even though there are very good games out there that have no alignment system. My players like D&D, so I will simply remove alignments, and change those things that are affiliated with alignments (Detect Evil, Protection from Good, etc.) The main problem is that my current game has become a game centered on alignment. It is like Doctor Who’s Sonic Screwdriver, being used all the time to solve all the problems. Yet the show is not about the Sonic. It’s about the Doctor. D&D is about the characters. Fundamentally it is not about the flavors (cool swords, neat spells, special armor, powerful wands, etc.) So when my players use Detect Evil as a means to determine action, then there is a problem. Alignment becomes a cheat. Character development goes by the wayside because the Detect Evil spell tells the players how to act. The players should be determining their character’s actions, using their brains, not the game system. Their decisions make the story interesting, not the tools being used. Doctor Who is interesting because of the Doctor, not the Sonic. I also don’t like the assumptions of alignments. We have a Goblin or an Orc. Tolkein made his monster races evil from birth. How easy and uninteresting is that, in this context? I see an Orc, therefore it’s automatically okay to kill it. There is no question, no thinking. It makes it easy to be a DM. I don’t have to give my monsters any personality or back story because they are evil. The PC’s will kill them on sight. Yea me! I’m a real DM! A real Story Teller! Something should also be said about how flawed the alignment system is as written. So many interpretations on what the specific alignments entail. If I am Chaotic Good then that means I am not quite as good as someone that is Lawful Good. Bullcrap. I’m only Neutral Good, and so I am more Neutral than Good. More Bullcrap. I’m Chaotic Neutral, that means I can do whatever I want, not that I am insane. Oh, so much Bullcrap. There are probably other reasons but these are enough. The story is sacred. The player’s participation is sacred. I want to encourage my players to use their brains and their hearts, not some cool formula, one given them from the start.

Player Bill of RIghts

The Player Bill of Rights Definitions:Player – Any player in the game, including the Game Master. PC – Player Character, the characters that the players play with, including Non-Player Characters. The Game – A safe, cooperative effort.
1) The player has the boundary of skin. The player has the right to not be physically touched. 2) The player has the right to speak. (As happens on occasion, several players are speaking at once. For this and other reasons, being heard is not a right.) 3) No player has the right to verbally abuse another player. Saying, “It’s what my PC would say” does not excuse abuse. Attitude is everything. The game IS safe and cooperative. 4) Players have the right to leave the game.
Abuse is defined as a behavior from a player to another player that breaks one or more of the four aforementioned points (1-4). Charges of abuse should be taken very seriously, yet all players should feel safe to bring the charge(s). The charge will be handled diplomatically, with all players participating in the discussion.
Consequences: When abuse is charged and confirmed by a majority of players, then the offending player will receive an official warning. If the offending player at any time repeats or gives similar abuse, then they are to be dismissed from the game, and must vacate the gaming area. The length of this dismissal, given in number of game sessions to be missed, should be determined by all of the remaining players. If a number of sessions cannot be decided upon by a majority of the remaining players, then the offending player is dismissed permanently.
The Marlaya's mini isn't perfect. She doesn't have a staff that I know of, that is, as of now I have not written her owning a staff. Between the game and the writing, it is pretty clear that I cannot get this woman out of my mind.
Marlaya does appear in my D&D game. She started as a character in my writing, which developed substantially. Then I made a D&D world and set her in it. She's an NPC and has a relationship with the party.
March 4, 2014 - My friends and I have been enjoying Dungeons & Dragons together for almost two years. I have had the honor and enjoyment of being the Dungeon Master. The story has progressed nicely, with the players taking the game where they have wanted it, for the most part. I want to stress that point, that I, being the person playing the god-arbiter of what happens, do not direct what happens. I do not say, "Alright, you go into the cave, enter this chamber and must fight these monsters. Now roll dice." I do say, "There is a cave. You have heard that bad things happen there." That is enough. At the same time, other interesting possibilities exist, but these do not preclude what the players want to do. The party may have a cave, a haunted cemetery and raiding bandits to consider, but if they want to head west to see what's out there then fine by me. I will not block their path so that they have to come back and encounter the bandits/cave/cemetery.
"But what about all of that preliminary work you did as DM?" you might ask. "The Bandit King is really cool, the party HAS to come back and deal with him." No, no they don't. This is what I enjoy about being DM. My players stretch me. They challenge me. This might reflect views held by many others, but I just thought I would get that out there.