Recently the hilarious show Community ran an episode called, "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons." To put it mildly, the episode was amazing. It really was one of the best depictions of the game ever to appear on screen. Recently I came across an article on the Forbes website that gave some insight into how the show ended up with such an accurate and compelling depiction of the game.
It is definitely worth a read if you enjoyed the show.
- A bounty hunter with mercenary sensibilities who looks to get the job done by any means necessary.
- A hot headed, duel pistol slinging, up and coming, young gunfighter who is looking to carve himself out a place is western lore.
- A naive law man with a black and white world view, a low tolerances for lawlessness and bullshit, and an itchy trigger finger.
The first option will be to create a character as normal. They will roll the stats as is normal for the system, make purchases for skills, feats, etc, and finally create a back story for their character. Creating a written backstory for some players, no matter how short, is a task that makes them moan and shake their fists. For that reason I'm going to offer two options that don't require one.
The second option is a tailor made pre-generated character. I do all the work (with a sentence or two of guidance from the player as above), roll all the dice, purchase all skills, feats, talents, etc that I feel fit the character. Finally I supply the player with a backstory and description of their character. Those who have little to no time prior to the game are the one's likely to take the option and to be grateful for it.
The final option is a Hybrid option. I create about 75% of the character, all the base stats, the majority of the skills and other things, but leave some wiggle room for the player to customize the character. As far as a backstory he will be given more of an outline and allowed to make additions, subtractions, and alterations to it before the start of play. This method allows for some ownership and creativity form the player while taking a very small amount of time and allowing him to dive right in with a character built for the campaign that are about to enter.
I think pre-gens are not something to be avoided even by the most experience of groups. Rather they are a great tool that can allow someone with a limited amount of time an ideal character to plug into a game right away and get to playing and having fun. Pre-made character can be just to fun to play as those made by a player's own hand. It just takes a little work from the GM and a little communication from the player.
I'd be eager to hear from anyone out there who has had a memorable experience, either positive or negative, with GM made PCs. What did you enjoy about it or what would you like to have seen done differently?
Dark Sword Miniatures are among the best available. They are intricately detailed, stunning beautiful pieces designed by hand by master craftsmen. I've seen videos of these sculptors being done and it still boggles my mind how amazing the finished product is.
My incredulity aside they have released pictures for some of their new minis which were inspired by George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.
|Bron the Sellsword|
|Benjen Stark of the Night's Watch|
|Robert Baratheon at the Trident|
|Hodor, Bran Stark, Jojen & Meera Reed|
Recently we looked ahead to the newest D&D video game that is being released, Daggerdale. So today I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the Dungeons and Dragons video games that have been released to date. Fortunately GameTrailers.com did a great video a while back that serves as the perfect link in this edition of Friday Videos. Though the video is a bit dated (it was released right before Dungeons and Dragons Online it does a great job of looking back at how D&D has helped shape the video game industry.
The new Dungeons & Dragons video game, Daggerdale, isn't nearly as ambitious or impressive as many previous efforts. That might surpise, shock, and of offend many of you, but that's more objective assesment than anything else.
The fact of the matter is that this new D&D game doesn't reach very far by design. It isn't intended for a big in store release like many of today's hottest tittles, but rather is opting for an economical online release. Instead of looking for it at Gamestop look for it instead on Xbox Live. The game, which will also be available for PS3 and PC, will encompass approximately 10 hours of game play. The price tag is a very manageable $10 so that alone may interest some who would otherwise be priced out of the game.
Daggerdale will be available sometimes this spring.
If you aren't using Google Maps to procure maps for your games then let me tell you a secret... Google Maps is the Best Mapping Resource You Aren't Using. Regardless of the genre of game you are playing there are maps out there got you.
Here is an example.
I got this map from Google Maps Terrain View, and though I made a few changes it remains basically the same. Do you know where this is? Most probably don't...
However, if you enjoy the works of H.P. Lovecraft you know the area, it's Essex County, part of an area known as Lovecraft Country. I am working on this map for the Sons of Ipswich game I'm working on.
You don't need to be playing a Call of Cthulhu game, or really any game that takes place on earth, to take advantage of real world maps. Had I labeled the above map with a series of fantasy names and said it was the Barony of Kravoria how many would have known it was actually a real world location? If my group was from Essex Country obviously they would, but if that were the case I could just use a map from Germany, New Zealand or any location which your players are unfamiliar with.
The level of detail in terms of things like topography and climate is extremely high and is there for the taking. Why not take advantage?
|A map of part of Southern New Zealand...|
|...or a Fantasy Realm?|
Posted by Labyrinthian in Cartographer's Corner
It has been a week and our winner has been selected randomly (from my lucky Colts hat no less!) so it is time to announce our winner. Before I do though I'd like to thank everyone for for their interest. This isn't likely to be the last of these contests so if you didn't win this time just keep an eye out for your chance to win in the future.
Now without further ado... Our winner is...
Congratulations! You'll be hearing from us before the day is out so best be thinking about what you want!
Today is the last opportunity to enter our Free Custom Map Giveaway. We will be drawing the winner at midnight and announcing the winner here around noon tomorrow. So if you haven't entered make sure to do so now and if you did make sure to check back here tomorrow to see if you are our winner!
The good people at Valyrian Steel are at it again. They have released concept drawings for their next project, a replica of King Robert Baratheon's mighty warhammer. Valyrian Steel has already done a number of replicas including Jon Snow's Longclaw and Arya's Needle.
Also known as the Mask Flower, Alonsoa grows in Central and western South America, from Mexico south to Peru and Chile.
Also it looks like Cthulhu and is slightly mind blowing.
House Stark's video surfaced the other day and now we have been supplied with videos for three other Great Houses: House Baratheon, House Lannister, and House Targaryen. There is a little bit of overlap in the Baratheon and Lannister videos at the beginning.
They charged into the camp screaming vengeance like a bunch of maniacs. They mowed through several Orcs but eventually Kraahn made his appearance. I made a point of describing him anew as seemingly more mighty than ever before but the party took no heed. One of the characters, the one who had led the charge for the death of this Troll from the first, Harold Scarbottom dashed at the Troll with reckless abandon. He battled the Troll alone for a time while the others held off the Orcs. However, Kraahn had grown so strong that Harold had no choice but to feign death in the hopes of escaping. Escape he did, and the rest of the party with him, but their defeat only strengthen Kraahn more.
Another level in Barbarian? Check.
At the end of the session I was kind of floored at what had become of a simple random encounter Troll. I wasn't too happy about it, but the group seemed to feel otherwise. The yells of triumph when Kraahn went down in a flaming bubbling heap were nearly deafening. Even Moox whose character Harold Scarbottom had died in the quest was ecstatic about the victory. At his request we started a PC graveyard and had little sayings with which to remember how the character died. Harold's read, "Never play Ahab to a Barbarian Troll's Moby Dick." I think that summed up the series of events nicely. The players happiness over the entire affair was only compounded when they saw the small fortune that Kraahn and his Orcs had accumulated and how much experience the Troll himself was worth. Though I had never planned any of it, everyone had had a great time and left with a sense of real accomplishment for finally beating the bad guy.
A Game of Thrones Merchandise is now available over at HBO's gift shop. One of the really cool things they have is House Shirts. Each of the Great Houses from A Game of Thrones has their own shirt done in their colors and with their Sigil and Words on it. Greyjoy and Targaryen look pretty cool.
In 1692 in the Ipswich Colony in Massachusetts, five families with magical abilities, referred to as "the Power", formed a covenant of silence to protect themselves from persecution. Four of the five bloodlines (Danvers, Parry, Garwin, and Simms) survive to this day; one family (the Putnams), lusting for more power, were banished, their bloodline disappearing without a trace until now.
The Covenant tells the story of the Sons of Ipswich, four young students at the elite Spencer Academy who are bound by their sacred ancestry. As descendants of the original families that settled in Ipswich Colony in the 17th century, the boys have all been given amazing supernatural powers. But their ability to shape-shift, defy gravity and perform superhuman feats of strength comes at a terrible cost: every time one of the Sons of Ipswich uses his magical powers, he ages prematurely, and the temptation to abuse the power makes it more addictive than any drug. What's more, life is only going to get harder for the young friends; they are given a taste of the Power at age thirteen. Then at the moment each boy turns eighteen, he will "Ascend", gaining far more potent —and addictive— powers.
Here is a look at the official trailer for the movie
The Cool Stuff:
Two new videos for you for HBO's upcoming A Game of Thrones.
The first one is a new trailer dubbed, "Fear and Blood"
Those Old Nan voice overs are great!
The second video is a behind the scenes look at the principal family of A Game of Thrones, the Starks.
Only about a month to go!
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For the last month we have been providing you guys with 100% free maps for your use. The labels have been left off so that you can fill in your own cool names for the cities, castles, rivers, mountains and forests. Today we are going to recap the last month's worth of maps (just in case you missed one!) and let you know that we are going to be making a VERY exciting announcement later on today. If you love one or more of these maps you are going to want to stop back some time after 12:00PM today to hear all about it!
Posted by Labyrinthian in A Song of Ice and Fire
George Martin recently posted on his site that Roy Dotrice has been awarded the Guinness World Record for greatest number of characters voiced in an audio book. Dotrice, many people's favorite reader of GRRM's novels, managed a somewhat staggering 224 distinct voices in his reading of the book. Many, myself included, think that Dotrice himself should have already broken this record in his performance of A Storm of Swords, but no one including myself has bothered to actually count them.
Congratulations to Mr. Dotrice on a job well done and an honor well earned.
Well, I've mentioned before that I didn't have a whole lot of hope for this movie. To me this trailer just confirms my fears, but you judge for yourself.
Here is a really cool poster of Ned Stark sitting atop the Iron Throne and looking as solemn as ever. You can view a hi-res version here.
Bram Stoker's Dracula is a very important and influential book.
It also stinks.
That's my opinion, anyway. I read it, along with a number of other important pieces of Vampire fiction in preparation for running I6: Ravenloft. Honestly, that was a waste of time. I might as well have watched the below video. That would also have been worthless for gathering inspiration, but at least it would have been funny and short.
There are many lessons to take out of this, both GMs and Players.
For players, your PCs are the main characters of the show that is your campaign. Remember that, and remember that great characters are not defined only by their strengths but also by their weaknesses. Give your character a flaw or two, one that will likely create some tension and great story opportunities in the future.
For GMs, recognize that just because the players will be pitted against your NPCs doesn't mean that can't respect them or even be friends with them. Look at Professor X and Magneto, they are best friends but constantly find themselves battling against one another because they don't see eye to eye on what is best for their kind. These kind of enemies can be the most memorable and create a different kind of obstacle than a standard monster in a dungeon. X never really gives up hope of Magneto seeing the error of his ways and using using his powers for good. The battle to convince a bitter enemy to stop their dastardly deeds may not require any dice, but it may be the greatest battle any player at your table has ever fought.
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