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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Posts tagged “Role Play

The Failings Of D&D

I may get a bit “ranty” about Dungeons & Dragons, it’s the system I learned to role-play with, it’s the backbone of some of my greatest creations, and yeah I’m prepared to admit that it’s the game that changed my life. I have dabbled in other systems, run a few of them, modded some for my own purposes, and even had a stab at creating some* but I am under no illusions that it is the perfect system.

I know so many people who are simply no longer interested in D&D itself. Either they’ve embraced Pathfinder and never looked back, or perhaps Savage Worlds, Exalted, Big Eyes Small Mouth, some people actually enjoy GURPS. And it’s certainly not because D&D is a bad system, but it has some serious gaps in the kind of stories and styles of gameplay it can support. (more…)

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Kickstarter Highlight – IS IT A PLANE!?

I’ve expressed an interest in diceless role-playing games for a few years now, but I’ve yet to be involved in a game that is completely without some influence of chance, even the odd playing card based game which wasn’t wholly without dice. Is It A Plane!? by Psychic Cactus Games is something rather different… actually something very different. Now funding on Kickstarter is a role-play about interpretation, and is going to be a must have for those who are quick on the draw. (more…)


National Student Roleplaying and Wargaming Championships 2018

Here’s all the warning I got:

“Hey, I’m going to a big role-play weekend event, do you want to come, ’cause the guys who’s organising it needs names as soon as possible!”

I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the incredibly vague gist. Further information included three possible venues, and the idea that you could pay a pound to charity to have a dice re-rolled to impact the game. Sounded fun, if maddeningly lacking in detail or organisation but what the hell, I coughed up some money for a shared hotel room with a complete stranger one of three possible cities none of which I’d ever been to with a man I’d met through the GeekOut Shrewsbury Meets (next event is the 26th by the way, thanks for asking).

Worth it.

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Dungeon Situational – Kobold Traps

Ever hear of Tucker’s Kobolds? If you have then you know that a half-dozen hit points does not mean an easy fight. In this week’s Dungeon Situational I’ll pitch a few ideas for the kinds of traps that kobolds may construct given their stature, disposition, and available resources.

As usual I’ll be using D&D 5e rules, but all rules and numbers can be adjusted to suit your campaign in other editions, systems, or for varying levels. (more…)


Dungeon Situational – Magical Implements

Dungeon Situational is a new series for Dungeons & Dragons players easily modified for other editions and roleplaying systems that feature ideas for DMs and players that can (hopefully) help you make your characters and your campaigns uniquely yours. Spells, creatures, trinkets, encounters, rewards, and obstacles of any and all sorts.

For today, something I often find my spellcasters lacking, unique magical implements. These are no mere wands and staves, these trinkets are intrinsically magical in their own right, and have minor magical properties of their own that should not unbalance the game… certainly no worse than your average magic item. (more…)


Christmas Encounter Table

Some context: Every year I have run a Christmas themed game for one of my local gaming groups. The first one was supposed to be just a one shot, an overly dramatic story of a band of misfit toys who escape the island (really a peninsula), to return home, lead a revolt of the Candy Folk against the cruel tyranny of the Fey Lord Klaus and his wicked elven wild hunt, and reinstate Bannock, Gingerbread King of Candy Folk. And because I can’t control myself, this became an ongoing story, four years strong. This will be the first year since 2012 in which I have not done a Christmas game.

What can I say? I’ve felt rather uninspired in that regard and other projects are taking off rather nicely. So for now, the Dark God of Candy will have to wait to reclaim the world, here instead is an encounter table which sees a nondescript party of 4-6 Christmas themed adventurers level 2-4, wandering the frozen wilderness in an effort to evade Santa and his sadistic brood. It assumes information from the D&D 5th edition Players Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Merry Christmas.

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My Dungeon Masters

No man is an island, inspiration does not come from nowhere, and there are too many people to whom I owe thanks for developing my skills as a Dungeon Master. Today feels like the day to thank a lot of people, I’m coming to ten years a slave to the hobby (is that reference in poor taste? Eh, I don’t care) and I wanted to share with you guys the people who have shaped my experience, and how.

Nathan Rigby: Here’s the guy who started it all, him and a guy called Pete who appears to have vanished into the unknowable abyss beyond social media’s grasp. I was asked if I wanted to play, I said sure, was told I was the Dungeon Master, and replied “Sure, what’s that?” My early experiences as a DM were highly encouraging, and while I’ve been through some bleak patches in which I relied too heavily on tools that did me no favours, but I’m better now. Nathan only ran a few games for me, but he snapped me out of a few bad habits early on, encouraged and coached me through some basics by observing my style and correcting it.

Eddie Alcock: A lot of players you will talk to will have Their DM, that Dungeon Master who will always be the one who inspired and enthralled them, whose campaigns and stories are first brought to mind whenever conversation turns to the subject of RP. Eddie would be mine, a master of narrative, a brilliant creator and inventor, and a master of ripping things off in such a way that you’d never notice. One of my most entertaining characters thrived in a world of Eddie’s creation, and since playing in his games I have learned how to make my players feel more at home in the worlds I create for them. Cheers Ed.

Chris Smith: Owner and proprietor of my local game shop e-Collectica, my association with Chris goes further back than that. Here is the man I rely upon as my catalogue of gaming knowledge, and he has introduced me to so many board games, and more than a few roleplaying systems. In short, without Chris I’d be stuck fully on Dungeons & Dragons and would never have dabbled outside of my genre, I’m still a firm fantasy man, but at least I’ve stuck my nose outside of the box.

Chris Perkins: Since the days of the early podcasts with Mike Krahulik, Scott Kurtz and Jerry Holkins, before taking to the stage with celebrity guest after celebrity guest in front of hundreds of PAX attendees. Chris is a professional author for Wizards of the Coast working on D&D, in other words one of my dream jobs, and being in the field means that D&D is as much a part of his day to day life as it is to me, but he has a showmanship that I can only aspire to for now.


These are only some of the DMs that have built my expertise over a decade of role play, formative in my early years of the game, but I have not stopped learning from others. People like Raging Swan Press, Matthew Colville, Matt Mercer, and – dare I say – me, we all like to share our styles, stories, our advice to anyone and everyone who’ll listen.

Show some appreciation to your DMs, we work hard to give you the best gaming experience we possibly can.


Character Alignment Profile

Building upon the last few weeks of breaking down the moral alignment chart from Dungeons & Dragons fame, I wanted to break down a character by their place on the axes between good and evil, law and chaos. Inspired by this article by Falcon Game Reviews I asked for suggestions on characters I could break down, but sadly got no ideas for anyone I felt confident enough to analyse in weird levels of detail.

So I sat, and I deliberated while chain-watching episodes of Constantine, scrolling through my Steam Library, IMdb, Deviant Art, YouTube, my bookshelves, and any number of geeky Facebook pages searching for inspiration. Someone who’s morality and methods may come into conflict, someone compelling who would be interesting to break down. And it took until about mid-day on the day I write this for me to notice what kind of an idiot I was being. (more…)


Playing Chaotic Evil

Villainy comes in all manner of forms, from the cool and conniving, the corrupt, the vicious and spiteful. It can be crime so organised it seems impossible to pin down, cruel enough to seem capable of anything, or suitably unpredictable to be considered dangerous beyond all others.

There’s a much finer line between Chaotic and Neutral Evil than one might believe, both are driven purely by self-interest without a damn given for the needs and feelings of anyone else, but there’s a line there to be drawn. Chaos is rebellion, be it in the interest of a people free to live their lives, or in the interest of no one stopping you from doing whatever you want. It isn’t necessarily the brutish violence of a conquering monster, or the man on a mission to undo everything in his path… it can be those things, but ultimately Chaotic Evil just wants to go wherever its whims take it, and doing whatever it wants when it gets there. (more…)


Playing Lawful Evil

We sink ever deeper through morality and into cruelty, malice, desire placed above need, ambition put before consideration, ends always justifying the means.. It’s important to recognise here that the most evil amongst us are the ones who don’t consider themselves evil, perhaps they are just motivated enough pursuing their goals to overlook the damage they might be doing, or perhaps they feel as if they are doing the right thing, and those who try and stop them are being unjust. Or perhaps their malevolence is born of some great injustice done to them, real or perceived.

Oh how I love a good villain.

So while I quietly persuade myself not to get too political, let’s take a look into what can earn someone the label of Lawful Evil. (more…)