December 21, 2011

Running the Gauntlet

Hello fellow dungeoneers and dungeon masters! Guest blogger Sean O'Connor reporting for nerdery. Your host blogger, Casey Steven Ross, asked me to do a write-up of my insights and experience designing the latest session of my home game. Mr. Ross has the pleasure (misfortune?) of being one of my players, he's seen me fumble a few times and experienced some gems of times in my home game. He specifically asked me to write about the last game because of the fun that I was able to squeeze out of it, and the major departure it took from our normal campaign. I'll give you a small amount of background before I get into the nitty gritty. Half of my group consists of a few "hardcore" players. I use the term with the utmost respect. These are a steady stable of guys I know I can rely on to let me try crazy stuff and will tackle what I throw at them head on with reckless abandon. The other half of my group are slightly less into it. I don't mean to say they are bad players, they just don't put as much focus on it and stand further on the outskirts of full immersion in the system. The group is a good mix, we all get along very well, and generally have a good time. The dichotomy of the group often has me in the mindset of trying to super balance my encounters and make sure I've got something for everyone. This leads me into the meat of this post, what became of our last session, and how I've now completely uprooted my DMing style and philosophy for, hopefully, the better.

**I would like to preface the rest of this article with one disclaimer. I in no way claim that anything I'm doing is by any means the best way to handle dice chucking for every person. This is simply what worked for me and allowed me to push through a DMing barrier with which I was faced. If this process and insights help you, HOORAY!**

December 20, 2011

Exploring the Lich-Queen's Beloved, Part 01

This is the first part of a series of posts I will be doing that provides commentary and guidance on running my 4E D&D conversion of the 3E adventure "The Lich-Queen's Beloved", found here.

I've also added quite a few embellishments from the Fourthcore Alphabet into the mix, but have not made those parts too public so as not to be posting huge pieces of a paid-for text.

If you're a player in this game, please stop reading now so I can surprise you at the table!

December 19, 2011

Add Mystery in Your Dungeon

Just the other day I had the great pleasure of playing in a game of D&D, as a player, and having an amazingly fun time. If you're the kind of person who spends their free time looking through the internet to read obscure D&D blogs like DMG 42, then you're probably like me and don't often get the opportunity to be on that side of the screen. So, you understand well what an opportunity it was just for me to be in that seat. The campaign I'm in is set in Dark Sun and we're almost out of Heroic Tier. I've only been involved with the group for a short while, I'm really just filling in for a missing player that had to be out of town for a few months, so I don't know a lot of the background or story details. Although, honestly, I don't very much care to know the story details.

One of the other players, surprisingly not myself, had privately mentioned to the Dungeon Master that they would appreciate a little more challenge. A little more Fourthcore, if you will. The player, Matt, has quite a mastery of the 4E system, he's a "min/maxer" type with a reputation for simply annihilating standard issue combat encounters with ease. It's quite something to watch, really. He goes by Bohrdumb on the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch Play-by-Posts and the WotC boards, for those who care. Thankfully, our Dungeon Master happily obliged. This is something that shouldn't just be glanced past. It takes a little bit of guts to do something like this, from both the player and Dungeon Master. Both are making the game more stressful, more thoughtful, and less reliant on easily obtained DDi adventures. Things go out on a limb, things go past the prescribed ways to setup combat encounters. Of course, this is done because things also get fun!