Cute little mice?

Most of my time running RPGs has been of the variety that has the game master driving the players through scenes and settings. Many of the adventures I have run that were pre-made tended to be giant scripted set pieces that the players would be pushed and pulled through. Not unlike meat through a meat grinder. And, there is nothing inherently wrong with this method of playing and running games. A good game master can make that roller coaster feel like a wild ride. But, many times I feel like my roller coaster is more like the tea cup ride at Disney World. Not that I’ve had to wake up players for their turns to act (yet).

I read about Mouse Guard and I was gifted a copy by some friends. It’s a very different sort of RPG than anything I have played or run before. It places an emphasis on players taking ownership of their characters and what they will do in the world in a way that is very different than other games. It’s not that I think other RPGs are incapable of having these qualities, but they aren’t emphasized like they are in Mouse Guard.  The concepts of turning a team mission into personal goals, and being rewarded for completing them is a nice way to hand over the reigns of what’s going to get done to the players. I also really enjoyed the methods of conflict resolution that elegantly tiptoe around failure with more obstacles and success at a cost. All things I enjoy enough to try and fold back into my 4e games.

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Long Time, No Post

Castle Ravenloft Board Game

It’s not that I have stopped playing, or running, D&D. I have not. But I had a job for a while that basically sucked up every waking hour of my life (or felt like it).

But, in that time, I have managed to keep running my Saturday night session. And in addition to that, I have picked up and played two other games.

Castle Ravenloft and Mouse Guard.

 

 

Rundarr!

While no one died, this fight gave the party the most draining fight yet. After a full rest, they used almost every daily power they had. A great battle that actually threatened a loss.

Chamber of Eyes

l_2048_1536_4D48D6D9-7E46-4641-A1BD-BFAD7BF5C4FD.jpegA couple of shots from last nights combat in the Chamber of Eyes. The players had been blowing through the standard encounters, so we discussed some solutions and ended up just tweaking all the enemies levels by two. The enemies are now harder to hit, hit harder, and there’s some real peril. Seems to also suit the Thunderspire’s generous loot tables.

To the left here is where the players ran into a few duergar guards. They were tough as it was, but the fighting lured a hobgolbin warcaster and chief to the fight. Some quick thinking on the part of the warlock and they divided the enemies with a magical shroud of darkness.

Below, the larger battle in the main chamber. The warcaster retreated to this room and made a stand with the archers and wolf. Chamber of Eyes

The only cure is more DDO?

Due to scheduling conflicts, sickness, and travel, I have not been playing much. And none of those reasons were my reasons. I don’t have a reason to not play.

In the stead of weekly RPG sessions, be they Fallout or D&D4e, I have been playing DDO. And I can say that the game is quite fun. I’ll put it this way: If you enjoy shadow puppetry, you don’t care what makes the shadows. You also don’t care if a different set of puppets tells a different shadow story. DDO is just another type of shadow puppetry with different props and stories. You get to dodge traps, level up, and (most importantly) kill things and take their stuff. D&D is simple enough of a setting for this to “just work”.

If only there was a turn based 4e version of it.

Thunderspire HO!

Victory in Thunderspire

After the conclusion of H1, Keep on the Shadowfell, the group moved on to H2, Thunderspire, out of lack of anything better from the DM (me). I’ve been putting the battle-mats to good use and you can see the post encounter map with all enemies killed dead.

I will note that if you are playing these pre-made modules, your group is most likely out-leveling the content. I made some changes to the last fight to try and make it more challenging and I think it succeeded. Despite some bad rolls on my part, and good roles on the party’s part, things seemed to be more challenging. Next encounter will be the telling part.

And, BTW, that’s some crumb cake, courtesy the wizard in the party. It was very good.

Cataclysm

Blizzard announced their new WoW expansion.

Too little, too late.

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