Life and Other Distractions

It’s been awfully quiet here for a long time. It’s not that I have forgotten about D&D, or lost the want to play and write about it. Life just got in the way. In fact I got so busy, I had to put my campaign on indefinite hiatus. Doing so was not an easy decision. I put a LOT of work into it and because of that, I also didn’t want to water it down for lack of prep time. So I put it on hold.

Pausing my campaign allowed me to get some real life stuff done, focus more on Another Passion and getting into iPhone development. None of which has anything to do with D&D – so of course I was craving some gaming. Luckily, I was not alone. Sundering Wrath ran for almost a year with fairly regular gaming, yet we never even made it out the Heroic Tier. Needless to say, myself and a few of my players were curious about playing at a higher level and jonesing to play in general. Continue reading

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Stonefang Pass 3 – Emergence

This is part 3 in my reporting on the party’s playthrough of “Orcs of Stonefang Pass“. There are spoilers in the following, so if you plan to play this adventure at some point, you should probably stop reading pretty soon. The following covers two encounters well into the adventure. By this point, the heroes been traveling through the pass for a couple of days.

See also: parts 1 and 2 of this series. Continue reading

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The Broken Bridge

Whilst traveling down a mountain road, the heroes come to a halt when they find that the bridge across a chasm has been torched. That is just the first obstacle in the 3-encounter delve style side trek.

The Broken Bridge is designed for a party around levels 4-5, but could be easily adjusted. I originally sketched it out for use with my own group, before I happened upon the Orcs of Stonefang Pass, which I ended up running instead. However, that did not keep me from finishing the Broken Bridge delve, so I could share it here. Continue reading

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Edition Wars, Wizards and Nerd Rage

Like many others, I started gaming in the early 1980s, when the original Red Box was the most current incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons. Throughout the 1990s, I played a multitude of games, and gradually D&D (and/or AD&D) slipped into the background. Skip ahead a decade, during which I worked in bars, got laid and eventually even married, and I’ve come full circle.

Back in the 90s, I was heavily involved in the Danish gaming community. I was a staff writer with the only national rpg-dedicated magazine at the time, and was even paid to run gaming groups in after-school programs. But at some point I got tired of the few but loud people, whose presence can ruin the fun for everyone else. I continued gaming, but just with my friends behind closed doors. Continue reading

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Further Into Stonefang Pass

This is part 2 of my recap of the published adventure “Orcs of Stonefang Pass“. We are currently playing this in our group and if you plan on playing it too, be warned that there are a few spoilers in the following.

Check out part 1 of this recap.

I originally threw this adventure into my campaign for a number a reasons, the two main ones being: I wanted to try my hands at running a 4th edition adventure not written by myself, and Stonefang Pass happened to fit perfectly into where we were in the game (all I did was throw in a location where the road split and some dwarves were camping out). So far, I have to say that it has been a positive and inspiring experience. Continue reading

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Structure Your D&D Campaign Like a TV Show

Since TV writing and gaming are different types of episodic storytelling there are natural overlaps between the two, but I have never seen a roleplaying game better suited for the TV drama-show structure, than 4th edition D&D.

I am not the first to make the gaming and television comparison, but I really started thinking about it after watching an interview with Ron Moore about the writing of Battlestar Galactica. He made it sound like the writers on Battlestar were throwing all these surprises out (eg. so-and-so is a cylon!) having only a vague idea of where most of it would lead. They left it open-ended enough, that they could use the framework of the established world to pull it all together in the end (or as needed). I thought this was a very clever way of writing any kind of series, and immediately made the connection to campaign structure.

A 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign is structured in three tiers of 10 levels each. The Heroic, Paragon and Epic tiers each represent a new chapter in the characters’ adventuring career. If we go by how it’s laid out in the rulebooks, you could describe the three tiers as epic, epic’er and epic’est. As DMs, our job is to give the players this feeling of Progressive Epicness (not a real word, but it should be). Above all, it is the DMs responsibility to ensure everyone has fun by being fair, and providing challenges and adventures. And fun for the players ties into expectation and surprise. I will get back to those in a minute. For now, just bear with me. Continue reading

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