Monday, October 13, 2008

Horror Story for Halloween...

I just thought I would share a story with you about a D&D game gone wrong.

My first gaming group consisted of me, my brother and two other friends. This group is not the core group that would later be dubbed the Foaming Flagons, but it was my first.

I started my gaming with the purchase of one of every type of gaming die,(Assorted colors.) and the Keep on the Borderlands module.

I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

I was only about nine at the time so you gotta forgive me.

About a week later, my mom, my grandma, my grandpa and my brother went to a Rinks store in New Philadelphia, Ohio where I purchased the first Basic D&D red box. (The Mentzer set.)

I nearly puked with excitement. I was that kind of a kid.

My hands shook as I ripped the cellophane off the box and tried reading bits of text as we passed under street lamps along the highway.

I devoured that Player's Book in about 30 minutes.

Of course I purchased the Expert set and eventually got into the AD&D stuff when I hit Junior High.

I always took pretty decent care of my stuff.

I kept all my D&D stuff in pretty good shape.

(You know this is really funny because after all these years, I have been told I can break an anvil with a rubber mallet.)

But my brother is a walking disaster.

We were gaming in our room with a couple of buddies. I think my brother might have been in the 8th grade and I was in 6th.

Back in those days, he could steal snuff (AKA Dip AKA Chew) or at least get some older people to buy it for him. (We lived in a rather rural area but I never picked up the habit myself.)

Like many people with that particularly disgusting habit, my brother had a large mason jar which he used as a spitoon.

Do you see where this is going?

I was DMing this particular day and my brother jumped to his feet to go to the bathroom. My precious books were spread out on our bedroom floor. As he stood up, he bumped his foot against a mason jar that was three quarters full of tobacco spit, spilling the tarry, foul liquid all over my beloved tomes.

I don't believe and no one can convince me otherwise that the D&D game has ever caused, directly or indirectly the death of any person.

Except for almost once in this occasion.

My brother still lives of course and eventually he took up smoking, but I will never forget the horror and disgust of that day.

At least he was good enough to clean it up himself.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Vorpal Blade or Sword of Sharpness?

I once had this debate with one of my old DM's.

He was queer for the Sword of Sharpness and tried to convince me it was far better than a Vorpal Sword. his reason for this was that it hacked off limbs thus increasing your chances of delivering a crippling blow that ended any fight.

But the Vorpal Sword decapitates.

That means the head comes off.

Doesn't that end the fight too?

(OK! So maybe not against a Hydra or even an Ettin.)

And let's look at the way these blades work. (At least according to REAL AD&D.)

The Sword of Sharpness is typically a +3 weapon. (If you look up Excalibur under the Arthurian Mythos in Legends & Lore, it's a +5 Sword of Sharpness so there must be others with different pluses out there.)

Anyway, these bonus points are not tallied all together. In fact you get a +1 to hit, a +1 to damage, and a +1 to determine if you sever an arm, leg, or neck/head.

So if you don't roll a modified score that is high enough to sever, you get +1 to your damage roll and the fight continues.

A Vorpal Sword is also typically a +3 weapon. It's +3 to hit and damage and the +3 to hit roll is used to determine if you decapitate and kill, (In most cases) whatever you are fighting.

I don't have the score charts in front of me so I could be wrong, but if memory serves me, you need an unmodified roll of 18 or more to score a sever with a Sword of Sharpness.

I believe an unmodified roll of 17 is required for a decapitation with the Vorpal Sword.

I understand that it wouldn't be of much use against beasties with no heads.

Slimes, jellies and pudding have no limbs either so the debate here is kinda pointless.

But to me, it seems the Vorpal Blade wins out since you don't need to roll as high and when you do, it ends the fight. Rather decisively I would say.

I suppose if you are fond of gory battles and whittling your opponent down to nothing, then you would have a soft spot for the Sword of Sharpness.

But if you like headhunting.....


Vorpal Blade or Sword of Sharpness?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Continuation or Clarification of Things Said....

My esteemed friend and fellow Flagon did point out some cool things that Troy Denning did write.

I can't blame him for the Maztica crap. That was all Douglas Niles.

But I sure as hell can blame him for the Tuigan!

My point on this wasn't really to bash on any published author.

I mean, they ARE published and all I do is post stuff on my blog and on some LE Forums.

Who the hell am I?

But, my point is that I simply can't understand why we take a FANTASY world and inundate it with stories inspired by events, wars and calamities that took place in our world.

If I had wanted that, I wouldn't have bought the Old Grey Box in the first place!

I simply would have had PCs adventuring in Scotland until they took ship for Spain and the characters could then have sailed for South America where they, rather than Cortez, could have slaughtered all the Mayans and the Aztecs.

But I didn't want to play in this world.

I guess it wouldn't sell as well if your campaign setting had the major race of PC as Gibbering Mouthers.

Most of the monsters ARE based on legends from our own world's cultures, so it probably came naturally to simply include those same cultures where the MMI, MMII, and FF got their inspiration.

(However, I ain't never heard of anybody, including those crazy Egyptians, having a Rust Monster.)

Now I know why Waterson won't sell out Calvin & Hobbes.

Personally, I will use almost all of Greenwood's stuff. I still think the Ravenloft module is one of the best ever made, but I will adapt it for FR use, and if I ever get to run and Oriental Adventures campaign again, I will probably still use the trail map for simplicity's sake. But it's gonna have a different feel than the Asia of this earth.

(No General Tso's Chicken!)

The martial arts will be different. I can accpet ninjas and samurai, but ninjas will really be able to turn into smoke and the samurai's sword WILL be his soul!

I grew to dislike the Mortal Kombat thing, but the one idea of the martial arts being linked to white and black magic.....I find that appealing.

A kung-fu punch that damages your soul as well as your body?

I'm right there!

Lots of possibilities!

So let's explore those and skip the Mongolian invasion and the slaughter of millions of obsidian club wielding, naked natives.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Where the Realms Went Wrong

I was having a talk with my friend the other night.
It was the first time that we've talked in too many years.
After catching up, our conversation turned to one of our favorite topics.


AD&D in particular.

Anyway, one of the points we discussed is how the Forgotten Realms was so brilliant in the early days and then after a few years, started circling the drain.

Pretty soon it got flushed down the commode of commercialism.

Personally, I think it started during the so called, "Time of Troubles."

If I had been in the IRA, I might have taken offense.

(I know, they refer to it simply as "The Troubles" but let's not split hairs.)

Here we have all the Gods of the Realms sent down to walk the world of men in avatar form and they become embroiled in all sorts of mischief, catastrophes and bloodshed.


Who the hell are we kidding?

In comic books, some of the more popular terms used to describe these events are "Alternate Reality, Crisis of Infinite Earths and Secret Wars."

In business I think they call it "Corporate Overhaul or even Hostile Takeover"

Anyway, I feel that Troy Denning's works were shit.

One of the heroes was named Midnight for Pete's sake! That's what an eight year old names her new pony!

But at the time, I was on a Forgotten Realms craze and I bought all the books and devoured them.

But then they just started flooding the market with mindless drivel! I mean FLOODED!

Is it just me or did anyone else see the problem here?

Look at the Oriental Adventures expansion of Kara-Tur.

Why couldn't they come up with their own Asian flavored hot sauce instead of loosely disguising the world in which we live in? Koryo (Korea), Wa (Okinawa).



I think my brother nailed it when he saw this stinky pile and said, "There are no Spaniards in the Realms!"

(It was really funny because of the way he said it.)

Then we got that Tuigan crap.

The Mongolian Horde invades!

EEK! Run away!


Now with the latest edition, there has been a "Spellplague" or whatever the hell they call it and all magic-using creatures were wiped out. I would have loved being in the room during that brainstorm! I think I would have said something like....

"Are you fucking retarded?"

Here's my advice for anybody that still loves and plays the OG of D&D.....ok maybe not the OG, but the most popular version.

Keep all the old stuff you can find. Keep developing your own world. And keep on playing!

But then again, I guess we can all fall back to the Greyhawk stuff. It was a pretty darn good world too!

Old gamers never die. They just roll away.....