Monday, August 13, 2012

Book 3

Continuing my top ten list for books that got me into the fantasy / gaming scene.

Book 3 - Dragonlance, beginning with Dragons of Autumn Twilight.  I was pulled in by the cover artwork and then the idea of how this would flow from a gaming scene.  I later bought the annotated edition with notes from the authors in the sidebars.  For the first half of the book, they played the game and wrote what their characters did.  Eventually, they used that as a jumping off point and started writing the story.  Once you know it is there, you can sense a more smooth approach in the writing when the stop trying to copy down the game.  I loved the books, the idea of a thief who didn't steal (he was just a bit of a clepto) and a wizard who was not really on his party's side.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book 2

Continuing my top ten list for books that got me into the fantasy / gaming scene.

Book 2

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.  I think I was 10 when my mother put this book in my hands.  I devoured it.  I had already seen the 1977 cartoon by Rankin/Bass and the book was even better.  You can check out part of the movie at youtube.

Eventually, I read the other three, along with the Silmarillion.

I was also taken with the early cartoon Flight of Dragons.  You can watch part of it here!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ten Books That Got Me Into This Mess

 I like Top Ten Lists so I thought I would post one a day for my Top Ten Books that got me into the fantasy / gaming scene.

The first book I remember reading that really hooked me was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I think I was 7 or 8 and the idea of ships, pirates, and treasure was too much for a small child.  I immediately wanted to read more.  My brother and I also spent many afternoons hiding treasure and building up pirate defenses.

It also leads to my enjoyment of future Treasure Island style adventures such as Cutthroat Island with Geena Davis, and Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Kickstarters I am following

I recently found Kickstarter and I have pledged to a few projects.  Two I am currently following:

The Mobile Tabletop RPG by HazzaH - They are working on creating a free app that allows people to use their phones to control a digital map of the fight.  I think this is a great step towards where my group would like to be.

Bones by Reaper - Cheap quality miniatures.  Who would have imagined??  The $100 pledge level gets you an amazing package.  Also, as they keep hitting their stretch goals, the package keeps growing.  Check them out!

DnD Next Playtesting

I am enjoying play testing the DnD Next material.  The characters are pregen-ed at this point and we are running through a great dungeon, The Caves of Chaos.

Pluses:
  • The fighting has been slimmed down and does not take very long.  This could be due to the the low level characters or the mechanics.  In 4e, we could have fights that lasted forever so this is a plus in our group.
  • The other mechanic we really, really like is Advantage and Disadvantage.  If I have an advantage in a round of combat, instead of getting +2 to whatever I roll, I get to roll 2d20 and keep the better roll.  For a disadvantage, I roll 2d20 and take the lower.  This is fantastic and really helps the characters not "waste a turn" on one bad roll.
  • All of the participants really like the idea of Background and Theme to personalize their character.  You don't have another fighter.  Instead, you have a vengeful former soldier fighter who adds game mechanics based on those ideas.
  • We have several players in our group who have never played anything except 4e.  They liked the pregenerated characters they could pick up and figure out without having to read a whole book.
Minuses:
  • Some people missed the complexity of the 4e system (not even knowing the heights of complexity in 3.5).  I am fairly sure this can be added in with the modular idea, or even as the characters attain higher levels.
  • Some missed minor actions, though as the DM I do not.  I never realized how much time was going into all those minor/marking/oh wait I forgot to add this damage 2 rounds ago.
  • I think everyone misses action pts, though the advantage/disadvantage system is easier for me as the DM
  • A HUGE gripe from the healer is that she has to give up her turn to heal someone.  She still wants to be in the fight and heal on the side.  Currently, that is not happening.
We played 4 weeks and then shifted over to Pathfinder.  We will probably playtest some more when more material comes out.

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