Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mark Twain's Birthday










Today is Mark Twain's birthday. He was one of my favorite writers. Here's a few of my favorite quotes.


"There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

"It is a subject that is bound to stir the pulses of any man one talks seriously to about, for in this age of inventive wonders all men have come to believe that in some genius' brain sleeps the solution of the grand problem of aerial navigation--and along with that belief is the hope that that genius will reveal his miracle before they die, and likewise a dread that he will poke off somewhere and die himself before he finds out that he has such a wonder lying dormant in his brain."
- Letter from Mark Twain, San Francisco Alta California, August 1, 1869

Behold the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket"--which is but a manner of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention;" but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and--WATCH THAT BASKET."
- Pudd'nHead Wilson

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GM Advice - Converting from the Screen to Paper- Part One


How many times have you seen a cool new show or read a great book and have wanted to play out the characters? How difficult would it be to move that character class or type to a class in Pathfinder or DnD? Have you ever tried to convert a concept in a movie or a book to a game only to end up in total failure when the concept was either way too overpowered or grossly under-powered? How can one convert an idea from a movie or a book that they've seen to a playable class? 

I have been watching the Legend of the Seeker on Netflix. The Legend of the Seeker is based around the Sword of Truth novels by Terry Goodkind. In the show as in the books the Seeker is a hero who has been called to fight an awesome darkness. The Seeker is an almost mystical figure of myth and legend who is born whenever there is a great evil to overcome. 

Like all good heroes the Seeker is not alone in his quest. In the show the Seeker has a female compaion who can turn the minds and souls of others called a Confessor and a very powerful wizard of the First Order. The Confessor is the judge of the lands of the world and no one can lie to a Confessor. The Wizard of the First Order is a powerful mage who is able to use both arcane magic and arcane healing.

In this series I will be taking a look at the Pathfinder game and considering the ways in which I could use existing classes to create alternate class features for the Seeker, The Confessor and the Wizard of the First Order. I am considering using the Witch, the Wizard and the Fighter base classes and I plan on modifying them to fit within the abilities of the above character types.

A First Look

First we have to look at what they can do,what gives them their power and how they function in the world.

Seeker - Power granted by the magic in the Sword of Truth and a magical sense that he seems to possess. A Seeker is able to fight many enemies at once and uses the Sword of Truth to block even magical attacks. The Seeker seems to have an almost supernatural ability to dodge blows. A Seeker is born but does not become a Seeker until he is named.

Confessor - Power granted from the order of the Confessor. A Confessor is born with her power but she must go to the order to be trained. A Confessor is almost rogue-like in her ability to use stealth and has the ability to touch a person and "Confess" them to do her bidding. Once a confessor is able to confess someone they remain her slave until she dies.

Wizard of the First Order - Power granted by birth. A Wizard is trained by a master in the arcane arts. A wizard of the first order calls upon inner power to channel their magics. Wizard fire is known only to the wizards of the first order. In the show the wizard displayed a mastery of multiple forms of magical schools including divination, illusion, transmutation, conjuring and evocation.

Now that we have a base understanding of these archtypes we will spend some time over the next few columns discussing how to make them effective Pathfinder classes.

The Legend of the Seeker, The Swords of Truth Novels and all other concepts are copyright Terry Goodkind and ABC Studios.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Playing with your food

My wife and kids and me just got back from a walk and we started our routine after walk snack. For the kids this was cheetohs puffs and for Mel and me it was carrot sticks. Well I've heard of playing with your food but this gives the term finger snacks a new meaning. Look at how eerily close this carrot looks like a finger.

How could this be used in a game? Red herring or perhaps something more sinister?

Finger carrots

Digit or carrot?

Can you tell the difference?

Christmas at the Adams

Traditionally on Black Friday we decorate the house. Every year I put  up the Christmas Town and throw in a few geek articles to really get the spirit of Christmas for a gamer. I want to say that as a Christian this time of year is very important to us. As a person who has many friends that are pagan, Jewish or that practice other forms of religion this is not meant as a jab at your beliefs but for us as a family we really try to think about the reason for the season and celebrate the risen king! That being said, I am still a scifi,fandom,game designer, IT geek so all of that has to come out or I am just not feeling that I am putting my whole self into Christmas.

What says Merry Christmas I'm a Gamer more than a pulp scene with Dick Tracy, Indiana Jones, The Shadow, Elliot Ness, Sky Captain and a bunch of cops chasing down an alien invasion lead by Dr Katana and Darth Vader?

This year we did two Christmas Towns. Here are some photos of our families Christmas decorations.





First Adams Family Fun Night

I used to wonder if my kids would be into the same things I am into. After last night now I know my kids are gamers! Madison played her fairy Friday night in our Dragonlance game. We started the Godsmouth Heresy which I have modified for use in Dragonlance. I put the ossuary under Palanthas and changed the deity to Habbakuk. Madison my eldest daughter had a great time taking on spiders and flying around and talking about her fairy kingdom.

Racers take your marks!
My wife had a great idea for the family. She decided that we would have a evening of games with the kids. I was asked to create a game for the kids. When I asked them what they wanted they all said Cars and Strawberry. Mel asked me to create a game using the cars for the kids so I created a simple rules set that they could play cars using their Disney Cars toys. I then used Scrying Eye Games roads and made up a track for the kiddos.
McQueen and Doc

We had a blast! My son came in first in the first game, I came in second and my wife came in third. My daughter played a good game and tried to win but spun out at the last minute which allowed my wife to take the final checkered flag! They had so much fun that Faelan my son was tuckered out on the couch during the last two rounds of the game. I was amazed this morning with my kids asking me to run it again.
So if you are a father and want to find a way to connect with your kids let your inner game designer or inner geek take over and make up something to do together! I think as we go along we are going to be adding rules and modifying things etc. I will make the rules available for the race car game or as my son calls it "KARZ" online. If you get the chance to play with your kids. Do it. You will have a blast and you will be spreading the hobby as well!

Friday, November 25, 2011

WTNW RPG/Skirmisher

I love words or in other words I personally have a strong ardor for written lexicon and verbal dialogue. This is especially true when I am able to utilize profound phrasing such as languid ambivalence or differed apotheosis. Not that word play is the end-all be-all of a game but I do find it very poignant to use the appropriate words when describing a game mechanic. Thusly and I am not entirely sure how I am going to accomplish this but I plan on using words such as apotheosis (the glorification of a subject to divine level), acquiescence (reluctant agreement) and concurrence (occurring together) in the game.

As a special sneak peek to those of you who are interested in the development of the When the Navy Walked RPG and the WTNW Skirmisher I am sharing with you the base core characteristics that we will be using to represent the characters in the game. These characteristics make up the raw talent of the character. In addition to the core characteristics there are also figured characteristics which we are not showing and skills which are based on the core characteristics and level of the character. As this game is going to be a skill based game the level is going to be less about gaining more power and more about gaining better competency in what you already possess as well as opening up new pathways to gaining new competencies in other areas or specializations similar to prestige classes.

(WTNW Skirmish/RPG Sneak Peek) - Base Characteristics and Core Competencies
So far we have three main stats that are purchased by die type using a specific number of points at character creation from D6 to D30. The three stats each have one or more core competencies that derive from the base die in the base characteristic that start one die lower than the base characteristic and continue until D6s. The lowest a characteristic or competency is able to be is a D6. For example if you choose a D10 Brawn you can have a D8 Muscle, D6 Quickness and D6 Vigor. Following is a listing of each base characteristic and their core competency.


Characteristic
Competency
Brawn
Muscle, Quickness, Vigor
Brains
Wits, Learning
Command
Presence, Allure

Also, don't forget that WTNW Airships and Skypirates is set to be released this December! We hope to have the pdf out by Christmas and the book on the shelves by January! Here are some samples of the diagrams in the books. These diagrams are of the Airship Dreadnaught (left) and the Airship Cruiser (right) both are copyright The ArmChair General.




Thursday, November 24, 2011

Flash Fearsday - Turkey Dreams

Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge: write a horror story in 140 characters or less. If you feel that is too limiting, you can try for 140 words. Flash Fearsday was started at Porky's Expanse! but has moved to Lunching on Lamias. What will you create for the challenge?



The forest floor is peace.
To forage moving in grace and beauty.
Danger!
Interrupt crackling rifle shot.
All is calm.
The heat rises and I sweat.
I am ready to be consumed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's a bit o'Thanksgiving theme for your game:


Turkey Zombie Variant:
Use the quick zombie variant in the Pathfinder Bestiary with the addition of the dread gobble (SU).  As a standard action the turkey zombie can gobble a deathly blood filled curdle which causes a Will save DC 15 for all that can hear the call. Failure of the roll results in the target Cowering for one turn and then Shaken for 1d4 turns. A successful save means that character does not have to save against the same turkey zombie for 24 hours. Items, spells or abilities that dampen or cancel sound based attacks including the Bardic Performance ability will cancel this affect for the character.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

20,000 Leagues


Following a post by Paul at the Man Cave posted in regards to the walk-through version of 20,000 Leagues at Euro Disney on Yours in a White Wine Sauce I recall vivid childhood memories of riding in the submarine boat at Disney.

I remember a time before Splash Mountain at The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fl when I as a kid enjoyed spending time running around Tom Sawyer's Island, watching the creepy ghouls and ghosts of the Haunted Mansion, enjoying the thrill of Mr Toad's Wild Ride and taking deep undersea adventures aboard the Nautilus piloted by Captain Nemo himself!

Luckily, I am not the only one who has fond memories of this attraction and the guys over at 20k ride have put together a very nice biography of the ride and the spin off rides at the other parks. Included at the site are interviews with former cast members, a tour of the lagoon and photos of the various areas around the ride. They have paid homage to a great VSF icon and put together and a fond farewell to one of the greatest rides of all time.

I do admit that as I grew older in my jaded years as a teenager I felt that the ride could have been better but you know what - I was wrong. The ride even with its anamatronics of the day and the plastic sea serpents of Atlantis held by mermaids in a lagoon really were magical. I did get to ride it a few times before they decommissioned it.

Now it's Aeral's Grotto. Now we get to listen to people sing about life under the sea instead of experiencing the wonder for ourselves. Back when it opened it was an E Ticket ride but sadly it is now returned to the pages of myth and legend.

I love 20k so much it was one of my inspirations for writing When the Navy Walked as I clearly state in the opening pages of the book. Over the years people have been inspired to delve the secrets of the deep and we have learned so much about our watery planet including the different types of ecosystems that were thought to be mere fantasy such as hot vents and underwater lakes. Thank you Jules Verne for such a wonderful tale that inspired hundreds to take their own voyages to the depths of the ocean.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DM Advice - Crystal Slotted Weapons


The Friday night Dragonlance game came upon a treasure trove of items near an ancient monastery that was held by ogres and a race of grey skinned humans (not drow). The gray-skinned humans were the descendants of the empire of Ishtar and the monastery was dedicated to the Kingpriest. After a battle with the guardians in which the heroes learn that they have been tricked and the ogre and the descendants are scapegoats for a necromancer who lives in a nearby tower. It is the necromancer who is using magic to make his undead henchmen appear like the descendants of Ishtar to defile and murder the farmers on the lands.

The necromancer is named H’annath and he is a member of the Black Robe wizard guild. His accomplice is an Inquisitor of Nutari who delights in torturing his victims. The heroes found the place where the necromancer would call upon the undead in a nearby tomb and after a long battle with the undead it came time for treasure.

As I had not expected the players to get so far into the campaign I decided to reward them highly with specialized items. Within an ancient alcove hidden to all but the elves they found a weapons locker. Inside they each found one item of the type of weapon that they currently possessed. An inscription of the weapons and their uses decorated the inside of the chamber. The weapons were carved with intricate runes and had gilded hilts with crystalline threads. Each hilt also contained a number of small holes when examined and compared to the writings on the wall were found to be slots that would hold crystals containing magical properties.

In addition to being able to confer a magical bonus from a gem within the hilt of the weapon each character is also able to learn the true name of the weapon and weave threads to the weapon granting it a permanent bonus when in the hands of the character that weaved the thread. This is a bit of an Earthdawn characteristic I added to give the items some truly legendary properties. In this way the party is able to have weapons that will probably stay with them throughout their adventuring career while being able to change them even on the fly and still limit the power based on the level of the character as is necessary in a level-based game.  I randomly rolled to determine the number of slots each weapon possessed for each player with a minimum of two slots.

Here are the rules I came up with for the crystal slotted weapons.



Item True Name: _____________________________________________________

Item Type: __________________________________________________________

Current Configuration
Slot
Total Item Bonus
Crystal Magic Properties
Threads
1




2




3




4




Rules
Reserve Crystals
Attuning a crystal costs the same as it would to purchase the magical effect normally for the weapon type as per weapon bonus +1/+2 etc. plus 100 times the total number of crystals the character owns.
Changing an attuned crystal is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity.
Reserve crystals – a character may have a maximum of five crystals in reserve at any time.











Threads – a character may spend an action point per item enhancement bonus and a full day threading to the weapon. Each thread weaved grants the item a permanent effect equal to the type of crystal spend. This effect only works in the hands of the character. Any crystal that is used in threading is automatically destroyed. The first thread is learning the true name of the item and the second thread is granting it a +1 enhancement bonus.

Crystal Slotted Item Characteristics
Level of PC Required
Total Item Bonus Permitted
Max bonus of one crystal
Max Threads
Max Thread Type
2-3
+1
+1
2
True Name, +1 Bonus
4-5
+2
+1
3
+1 Bonus
6-7
+3
+2
4
+2 Bonus
8-9
+4
+3
5
+2 Bonus
10-12
+5
+4
6
+3 Bonus
12+
+6
+4
7
+3 Bonus


DM Advice - Creating Ecologies not Static Environments pt 4

Tonight the party returns home from the triumphant success from Arasmis’ Mansion. In so doing, they are returning the Baron’s niece and are returning as heroes. Naturally, they will expect a hero’s welcome which they will get.

A while back, I did a series on creating ecologies not static environments and I want to take it a step further today and talk about some specifics for the Superdungeon campaign.

The party is currently in Forgotten Realms in the central portion of the country of Amn. Now to me Amn is basically a Virgina/North Carolina in terms of terrain features and climate. It is a temperate area of rolling hills and scattered woods. The woods consist of both deciduous trees and of conifers. The hills are either gently rolling or rough and rocky.

It will take several days for the party to return to the town of Fairhaven with the girl in tow after which they are going to get a severe case of rumors of nearby treasure that is going to lead them to the next adventure called Murder of Seven Points.

 I intend to take that time to let them journey through the environment of Amn which got me to thinking what they could encounter in such an ecology. I thought it would be fun to write up a few random tables containing what I come up with as the inhabitants and encounters possible for such an area. I am including both the animals that would be in our world and the animals and monsters that might be in the fantasy world. I have decided that there will be at least 1d4 encounters on the trip.

The Return Home (roll 1d6)

1.       Sparse Woods bordering the road with an occasional clearing that provides a nice place for a campsite or ambush spot. The woods provide both concealment 25% and cover +4 to anyone inside. The woods could contain a variety of woodland creatures ranging from squirrels and small deer and raccoon to larger and more aggressive predators such as bears and mountain lions. On the fantasy side, the area could be home to one or more owlbears and a pack of worgs. The area would be teeming with wildlife.

2. Heavy undergrowth with a scattering of trees in various patches at varying distances from the road. The undergrowth provides concealment 50% to small and 25% to medium creatures. The undergrowth might provide a nice place for a family of brownies to live and the predatory stirges might take up residence in the trees.

3. Variable sized stream ford or bridge that contains moderately moving currents. This could be a shallow stream or a significant obstacle for the party to overcome. If it is a shallow stream, a muckdweller might be a nice encounter and for larger streams, a giant freshwater pike could prove interesting. A nice clue to the party could be that they see very little sign of anything bigger than minnows in the shallows. For a particularly nasty encounter the GM could even add a group of hungry giant frogs.

4. Rough rocky terrain boarders the road as it winds through a rocky hill-scape. There could be ogres here or bandits as there is now a power-vacuum left from the removal of Kol. Areas such as these also serve as burial grounds for native tribes, which could result in a fight with undead if the tombs are disturbed. The wildlife includes mountain lions, large snakes such as pythons, sheep or elk and vultures.

5. An area of rolling grassy hills with little to no undergrowth and a scattering of trees could provide a nice area for grazing animals to feed such as small deer, antelope or other herbivores. Small predators such as bobcats and foxes may burrow in the hills. A band of kobolds might make their home here under the guidance of a small group of hill giants.

6. A large pond or marshy area may be home to a few bullywugs. The pond may teem with fish and other life such as alligators or giant turtles. The water itself could be crystal clear or murky depending on how close to the hills and mountain streams the pond sits.

Monday, November 21, 2011

DM Advice - Dungeons and Dinner

We all love to nosh, chow, munch, gobble, drink, slurp and chug during our session of gaming. Some groups bring snacks to share while others share lunch or dinner and then game and still others do bring your own snacks. My groups tend to bounce between doing dinner and just bringing snacks to share.

Somtimes its fun to blend the two.

I remember a time early on in our Chronicles of the Six campaign where we had a late lunch followed by our session. It was a great time to catch up and eat while everyone got in the mood for the campaign. Sometimes we even used the food in the game as a means of theme. As a for instance, I remember having a large dinner with our group while they were guests of the Queen of Harts in the Dungeonland module. I think we did one for the Mad Hatter as well.

I can recall another game where the GM served us spaghetti while we attempted to roleplay through a dinner in which the objective was to solve the murder of one of the goobas on our side. That particular game used storyteller system and it turned out that the goomba was killed by the don at the head of the table and he was just trying to figure out the loyalties of everyone there. Turned out to be a smashing great game!

So what about you? What are your favorite eats at the table? What gets your group going?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Flash Fearsday - The Challenger and the Serpent

Bravely the warrior climbs the rocky surface toward the serpent. The cunning vile serpent impatiently waits for the challenger. Brilliant silver shine as sword clashes with talons. Heedless of the winner – the scald waits with quill and parchment. One will taste victory while the other is defeated. The next moments determine the fate of many. Which shall victory taste? Shall it be the warrior or the dragon?

Flash Fearsday is a microfiction challenge held by Lunching on Lamias.

Looking for a new direction

For our Dragonlance game I am looking for a linear campaign module that will take players from 2nd level to the mid level range. I would like something that is urban based. Anyone have any ideas? I am considering starting up the podcasts again as well and want something that would lend itself well to that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DM Advice - Worlds Come and Worlds Go

A long time ago the Mormons wanted a territory that comprised most of the four states of the south-west of North America. They called their proposed state Deseret and had high hopes that the powers that be would grant them their territory. We all know today though that they were given Utah. This makes me think about the grand expanses of tracts of land that we carve when we are creating worlds and exactly what it is that makes us decide to reduce/reuse and recycle them.

It also brings me to several variations of home-brew campaign worlds that I have ran in the past including Shylitheria and Astra Zolar. What happened to these worlds? Why did they not take off? Some may say that it is silly to put together your own world when there are so many great commercially available ones out there. It takes time, patience and lots of creative work for little payoff.

So why do it?

It may be directly linked to a previous post in which I suggest that gamers have to create something. For game designers it is not about making something that they would envision others would want it is about creating something they want to create.

A good friend of mine once told me "The purpose of the author is not to write to his audience but to write what he is inspired to write".

Those words ring true with me anytime I write anything for gaming. I have to admit that it is true that I would LIKE for more people to be into When the Navy Walked and It Came From Beyond the Still or to give my fantasy campaign worlds a try but the reason that I write them has nothing to do with profits, bottom lines or margins. I write them because I love to write them and I feel an overwhelming urge to create.

I needed to do something.

I suspect it was the same for the Mormons and Deseret.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DM Advice - More Powerful Encounters

For those of us who have ever DMed a game of 3.0 0r 3.5 at a gaming table we have all heard “well that’s not within my level!” when a player complained about the fact that you were putting a monster up against them that they felt was too mean, nasty and would eat their lunch. While we can somewhat respect the player’s feelings we should always remember that it was the player who decided to go up against whatever it is to begin with. If they feel, it is really to powerful they can run. In addition, while it is true that you as the DM are responsible for setting up a fair game it is not true that every foe has to be a pushover.

My players know me as a DM who likes to pile on lots of little monsters or who likes to toss in some very hard challenges from time to time with little regard for CRs. So long as the official CR of the monster or beastie I am using or making is somewhere close to the party within a few levels I usually run with it. Hence, at level one, you CAN find yourself face to face with a CR3 ogre and I will not bat an eye. Why? Because I have seen players take them out without any problems and I have seen them all but decimate a party.

I can demonstrate repeatedly when I have used monsters that are higher than the party’s level and the party triumphed over their foes.  I believe this is largely because my parties tend to run higher than four people but equally important are the types of encounters that they face and how they are structured. See. While it is true that I have put party members up against an ogre at level one, the party was six strong and contained several mage type and gunslingers as well as healers. They also knew what they were getting themselves into when they heard the ogre and were given the opportunity to run before the fight began as the ogre did not notice them right away.

The fact that one swipe of the ogre’s maul could put a player into permanent retirement was not lost on me and I put provisions in place to ensure that they would not ‘die’ from one hit as the ogre was handicapped in his ability to maneuver around the sewers. At first, the party did complain and call me mean names they did overcome the ogre and it brought them great satisfaction to bring the guildhouse an ogre head in addition to the multitude of goblin and other beasts.

For me in the end I guess it is about telling stories that are truly epic and while goblin bashing can be fun it is much more fun to say “at first level I slew an ogre” even if it means that the party has to use some serious resources to do so.

What about you? Have you ever challenged the PCs with something ‘above their ability’? What happened? I’ll bet that they all remember the story!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Airship Down

Though the darkness the skies alight
Terror-filled panic-cries as people fled
Majestic gas-filled death in flight
Raining down a hail of lead

A champion arose on gallant steel
The trumpet on archer’s breath
A fearful echo of risen zeal
The sky-born titan in flaming death

When the Navy Walked - Skirmish

I need some playtesters for WTNW Skirmish. It would require the signature of an NDA. Any takers?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Hause - The Daywalker!

My buddy Dan just joined us last week with his Dhampire from Chult. The story goes that both he and Octavia are kept in the house by the vampire Arasmis. The players have learned that they must now find and destroy each of their runes hidden somewhere in the house if ever they want to escape...



Friday, November 11, 2011

A Poem for Veterans Everywhere

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true ?'

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgement of his God.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

Author Unknown~

Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Other Famous People

Today, on the eve of Veterans Day before the remembrance of Armistice we pause as we thank the people in our history for the great accomplishments of their day. Without further adieu I give you Those Other Famous People.

 Here's to the famous people of the world! Fibonacci who was famous for lying. Botticelli who sold many bottles of ale. Rachmaninoff - Who invented Rach and roll. Edison who invented ice cream. Lincoln who was the first one to build a log cabin. Washington who owned multiple car detailing shops. Finally here's to Admiral Benbow without whom we would never have figured out how to fire projectile missiles.

Thanksgiving to RPGs

For funsies I’ve decided that it would b cool to do my own blog challenge and since it is the month of compassion and month of thanksgiving I have decided it would be fun to list those things in gaming which I am thankful for. As I am already ten days into the month, I will list the first ten things that I am thankful for as a gamer. 

1.       Combat System in RPGS - I am thankful for the fact that the combat system is more robust than it used to be in days past. This is especially true with Pathfinder versus the old AD&D 2nd Edition. While I did enjoy 2nd Edition it was not that easy to explain to players how some mechanics worked and I am thankful for the fact that in the new games players only have to add up instead of add up and subtract down (or in situations like the Hero System – know quantum mechanics). For the record, I really like Hero but it can be hard getting people to play it who aren’t mathematically inclined.

2.       Rules for Roleplaying – I am thankful for the fact that games have starting including rules for how to play a character that is a living breathing member of a world. It is so much better that new players to the game can come in and immediately experience the fact that they can actually portray a character instead of just a guy who hacks and slashes his way to the gold.

3.       Alternate Experience Awards – I am thankful for the hero point system. It allows me to give benes without giving experience and it allows players to have a bit of luck to boot!

4.       Prepainted Miniatures – Who isn’t thankful for the prepainted plastic goodness that was DND minis? We used to use dice and pens and paper or whatever other stationary we could get. I would also pull from my warhammer fantasy collection from time to time. I still laugh when I think of the troll eraser.

5.       Adventure Modules – The fact that they are there makes it much easier to grab a group and start rolling dice without having to get into a long campaign or having to do much planning. I am also thankful because recently I have been considering writing adventure modules and putting them out on Wargamevault for sale. Any takers?

6.       Dice – Without dice we’d have no hobby or we’d be playing Amber and let’s face it Amber is a game that you can only play whenever you really trust your GM and besides DICE beats TACTICS!

7.       Maps – Thank you to Scrying Eye Games, Paizo, Galeforce 9 and WOTC (TSR) for the battle maps, maps of the world, maps of the area, maps of the maps and in general thank you to map makers and cartographers everywhere for your map making goodness! It’s good to know where you are and where you are going but it is also good to be able to use tactical maps during a combat encounter.

8.       JRR Tolkien and Greek Mythology – Without the inspiration of Tolkien and the Greeks we would be playing Dungeons and Phoenicians and while  miniature gaming and historical miniature gaming is very fun it is also fun to have a little fantasy from time to time.

9.       Dragons - I am thankful for the fact that dinosaurs were once misunderstood dragons or was it that dragons were misunderstood dinosaurs? Either way I am thankful for them.

10.   Epic Storytelling – I am thankful for good versus evil epic storytelling in which a peasant can become a knight. The fact that you can play an RPG and start from nothing and literally become the country’s ruler or a hero of the nation is what makes it so much fun for me. It’s a story of adventure and one of heroism when faced with overwhelming odds.

As the month moves on and we get closer to thanksgiving think about what you are thankful for that is in your life and in your hobbies. What is it about gaming that you appreciate?